The Senate Commerce Committee has unanimously approved the nomination of Rebecca Slaughter to the FTC, and Committee chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) said he hoped the full senate could approve the new full FTC slate as early as next week.
The other four nominees, Joseph Simons (chairman), Noah Joshua Phillips, Christine Wilson, and Rohit Chopra were already reported favorably by the committee Feb. 28.
Slaughter has been a long-term staffer for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). The FTC nomination is actually a Presidential pick, and while this has been anything but a traditional administration, tradition since the Clinton Administration has been to defer picks for seats not from the President's party have been deferred to the leader of the other party.
Slaughter was counsel and eventually chief counsel to Schumer, dealing with issues including consumer protection, patent trolls, privacy, and intellectual property.
The FTC is growing in importance with the FCC's decision to make it the chief net neutrality enforcement agency by reclassifying ISPs as information services under Title I.
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..."
Slaughter agreed with Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) that there were net neutrality enforcement concerns raised by what Markey, citing current Democratic FTC Commissioner Terrell McSweeny, said were the FTC's lack of telecom expertise. She said she would, if confirmed, enforce the law to its fullest extent, and working with others on improving the law to better protect consumers. That answer appeared to satisfy Markey, who pointed out that her husband was one of his former top staffers.
At that hearing, Schumer called her a "tough but fair negotiator who can get things done," particularly for American consumers. To check out her responses to written questions following that hearing, click here.
Currently the FTC is down to members, acting chairman Maureen Ohlhausen, Republican, and Terrell McSweeny, Democrat, but the President has nominated, and Commerce has held hearings, on five new members (McSweeny and Ohlhausen would both be leaving).
“CTIA and the wireless industry congratulate Rebecca Slaughter on the Senate Commerce Committee supporting her nomination to be a Commissioner at the Federal Trade Commission," said CTIA SVP Kelly Cole. "Slaughter has a deep understanding of communications and consumer issues and we look forward to her swift confirmation by the Senate.”