This week has seen several significant changes at the Commission level at both the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
After several months of stasis, the Senate voted to confirm Peter Feldman as a Commissioner on the CPSC, with a term expiring October 26, 2019. Feldman takes the place of Joseph Mohorovic, who resigned in October 2017. The Senate is also expected to approve Feldman’s nomination for a second term of 7 years shortly, which would expire in 2026.
Feldman, a Republican, will fill out the slate of commissioners at CPSC, giving the Republicans a 3-2 majority at the Commission for the first time since 2006. Acting Chair Ann Marie Buerkle still awaits confirmation as permanent Chair and for another seven-year term since her renomination to both posts by President Trump in January. Buerkle’s term formally ends in October, although she can hold over for one year.
At the FTC, Christine Wilson was sworn in as commissioner on September 26, 2018, replacing former Acting Chair and Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen, whose term ended September 25. Ohlhausen worked for the FTC for the better part of 20 years, first as a staffer from 1998-2008 and then as director of the Office of Policy Planning. She was nominated by President Obama in 2012 and confirmed as a commissioner. Ohlhausen became Acting Chair in January 2017 when Edith Ramirez resigned her Chairmanship following the 2016 presidential election. Under Ohlhausen’s leadership, the FTC brought 20 privacy-related actions, including its first case relating to smart toys. In addition, the agency brought or settled over 138 cases that resulted in $300 million in compensation paid to 3.7 million people and refunds to consumers amounting to $6 million.
Wilson, a Republican, previously served at the FTC as Chief of Staff to Chairman Tim Muris during the George W. Bush administration. Prior to her tenure at the FTC, Wilson practiced as an attorney specializing in consumer protection and competition at law firms Kirkland & Ellis LLP and O’Melveny & Myers LLP. Phillips’ term will run until September 2023.