By Alex Zank
The U.S. Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday took up the nomination of Terrell McSweeny, an antitrust lawyer at the U.S. Justice Department, for a slot on the Federal Trade Commission.
At her confirmation hearing, McSweeny, chief counsel for competition policy and intergovernmental relations in the DOJ Antitrust Division, fielded questions about FTC issues that included protecting the elderly in phone and internet scams; use of the FTC’s authority for regulating anti-competitive efforts; and her ability to foster interagency cooperation.
Many senators on the Commerce Committee didn’t participate in the session with McSweeny, who formerly worked on Vice President Joe Biden’s staff, serving for a time as his issues director. (In the U.S. Senate, McSweeny was Biden’s deputy chief of staff and policy director.)
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) said the scarcity of Senators at the hearing—where Michael O’Reilly, a nominee for the Federal Communications Commission, was also on the table—indicated widespread faith in the qualifications of the nominees.
“These two nominees are both extraordinarily well qualified and have great backgrounds that many people in the Senate are already familiar with,” he said. “And that may explain part of the reason that some of our members thought that this was not the most pressing hearing that we’ve ever had.”
If confirmed, McSweeny will be the fifth commissioner at the FTC, adding a liberal voice to a commission that’s split evenly now between Democrats and Republicans.
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