10 months after President Obama nominated her, Terrell McSweeny has been confirmed as the fifth FTC commissioner. The vote was 95-1 for McSweeny with David Vitter, a Republican from Louisiana, voting against her nomination.
McSweeny’s confirmation marks the first time in history that four women have served as FTC commissioners at the same time. It also gives the FTC its full complement of commissioners (now three Democrats and two Republicans), which may increase the number of matters that move forward to investigation and may help to resolve matters more quickly. A full panel of commissioners will be key in several upcoming large mergers, including a plan by food distributor Sysco Corp to merge with rival U.S. Foods Inc., and a proposed combination of grocery chains Kroger and Harris Teeter.
Prior to the FTC, Ms. McSweeny served at the DOJ on many high-profile matters such as the Anheuser-Busch InBev NV-Grupo Modelo SAB de CV merger and the merger between American Airlines Inc. and US Airways Group Inc. She also worked on the DOJ’s e-books price-fixing suit against Apple Inc. and its work on the International Trade Commission’s decision to block the import of Apple Inc. products based on Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.’s standard-essential patents.
Her experience at the DOJ will carry over to the FTC and will likely increase the cooperation between the two agencies. Her prior work at the DOJ in particular, as well as at her former law firm, O’Melveny Myers, gives her experience on an issue the FTC is currently pursuing on patent assertion entities, pay-for-delay arrangements and privacy issues.
Previously, Ms. McSweeny advised three presidential candidates on domestic policy and related matters. In 2008, she worked for Vice President Biden in various capacities including domestic policy issues.