• COMMENTARY: Sean Reyes Will Make Federal Trade Commission Great Again


    The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is ground zero for Crony Capitalism fights and President Donald Trump expected nominee to become Chairman, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, would pull the FTC out of the D.C. swamp.

    As somebody who worked on Capitol Hill for years, I witnessed business interests coming to Congress to demand investigations of opponents.  The lobbyists would ask for either a hearing in the House or Senate, or an investigation by an arm of the executive branch.  We have evidence of special interests coming to the FTC to push them to investigate opponents.

    One example was reported on March 13, 2014 in the Boston Globe that hedge fund billionaire William A. (Bill) Ackman, founder of Pershing Square Capital Management had lobbied Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) to send a letter to the FTC to investigate the vitamin and health food shake company Herbalife.

    The Wall Street Journal is reporting that companies are seeking to sway Trump Administration on the pick for a new Chair of the FTC.  Reports indicate that many companies and interest groups are waging war on who will be Trump’s nominee.  The high-tech and telecommunications sectors of the economy are two interests that will be impacted the most, therefore they are doing what they can to influence the process.

    Yet the process may be close to an end. President Donald Trump has seemed to have settled on Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes.  The Commission is currently only has two commissioners, Maureen Ohlhausen and Terrell McSweeny serving today, one Republican and Democrat. The FTC operates with five commissioners and should have a permanent chairman and two other commissioners nominated at some point this year to have a full functioning board.  These are important appointments that last for seven years with only three being allowed to serve from the same party.  In other words, President Trump has two appointments who can be Republicans and one more who can be either a registered Democrat or an independent.  This will be a closely watched process.

    The Commission is empowered by statute, according to the FTC website, to enforce “federal consumer protection laws that prevent fraud, deception and unfair business practices. The Commission also enforces federal antitrust laws that prohibit anticompetitive mergers and other business practices that could lead to higher prices, fewer choices, or less innovation.” With these great powers, there is the power to destroy companies.  The FTC needs a restrained voice who understands free markets and the proper role of a referee in the economy.

    General Sean Reyes seems to be the perfect nominee for the job and to be a neutral referee.  Reyes as the support of a number of former state Attorney Generals who argue in at piece in The Hill that he has the requisite experience to be chair of the FTC by virtue of his similar duties as A.G.  They argued that because “State AGs are empowered and entrusted to enforce a wide range of laws, including consumer protection and competition laws” this provides Reyes with tools that other potential nominees may not possess.

    According to a bio on Reyes’ own website, Reyes was instrumental in restoring confidence in a Utah Attorney General’s office that had been rocked by scandal. “In a short amount of time, Reyes has won back confidence in his office from leaders in politics, education, business, law and, most importantly, from Utah citizens. In the first months of his administration, by commissioning outside investigations and audits to shine a light on even the possibility of misconduct in the AGO, streamline budgets and expenditures, and improve infrastructure and client satisfaction, Reyes quickly reestablished credibility at the highest ranks of the office.”  Reyes is a rising star in Republican politics and he has been an activist in fighting human trafficking.

    Special interests need to stay away from this fight over the next head of the Federal Trade Commission and let President Trump pick the most qualified candidate.  Sean Reyes seems to be the best choice and somebody who will not favor one special interest over another.


    Cloakroom Confidential

    Cloakroom Confidential was a longtime Capitol Hill staffer and insider who has contacts in the House and Senate at the highest levels.

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