President Joe Biden has named Democratic Federal Trade commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter as acting chair with the exit earlier this week of Republican chairman Joseph Simons.
It was likely an easy call since she is a former long-time staffer to now-Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). Slaughter was counsel and eventually chief counsel to Schumer, dealing with issues including consumer protection, patent trolls, privacy, and intellectual property. Her resume also includes associate at law firm Sidley Austin in D.C.
“The best part of serving at the FTC is working with our incredibly dedicated and talented staff," said Slaughter. "Their expertise, creativity, and steadfast commitment have filled me with confidence that we will be able to meet the formidable challenges facing our markets and the American people today."
Those include "systemic racism, growing threats to competition, and the broad abuse of consumers’ data," she said.
Slaughter joined the FTC in 2018. At her confirmation hearing, Slaughter said she would make it a priority to make sure that, in an internet of things world, she would monitor to make sure companies were being good stewards of consumer data and "not engaging in the unfair and deceptive practices that are prohibited..."
Like the FCC, the FTC is currently at a 2-2 political tie until a third Democratic commissioner can be vetted and confirmed.
“We congratulate commissioner Slaughter on being named Acting Chair of the FTC," said Michael Powell, president of NCTA-the Internet & Television Association. "Commissioner Slaughter has been a passionate advocate for ensuring that American consumers are safeguarded by our nation’s consumer protection laws and that the FTC has the necessary resources to be an effective agency. We look forward to working with Acting Chair Slaughter and the FTC in the months ahead.”
“The wireless industry congratulates commissioner Slaughter on her appointment as Acting chair of the Federal Trade Commission," said CTIA president Meredith Attwell Baker. "She has a deep understanding of communications and consumer issues, and we commend her on this next step in her already distinguished career of public service.”
“USTelecom congratulates commissioner Slaughter on her appointment as acting chair of the Federal Trade Commission," said USTelecom president Jonathan Spalter. "The FTC can make real progress for consumers on digital privacy and cracking down on illegal robocall scams, and USTelecom members look forward to continuing our work with Chairwoman Slaughter and the FTC team in these busy months ahead.”
“Commissioner Slaughter is a welcome pick for acting FTC chairwoman," said Free Press senior policy counsel Gaurav Laroia. "She’s been persistently clear-headed on combating corporate malfeasance and argued for real remedies that these same companies can’t shrug off as the cost of doing business. She’s a forward-thinking leader who uses the FTC’s full power to combat persistent harms in our data economy. We’re confident she will chart a new path forward for the agency and use its powers to address pressing civil-rights harms and systemic racial inequalities in privacy, antitrust enforcement and in our economy writ large. We’re pleased to see the agency in her capable hands and hope that additional commissioners have the same commitment to justice.”
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.