JUST IN: Report: Trump favors outside candidate for position over Republican leader

President Trump is reportedly shaking up the establishment once again, as he is now believed to be favoring an “outside candidate” for the position of chairman of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), instead of simply nominating the next Republican in line.

Hoping to get the role is the acting chairperson, Maureen Ohlhausen, who, according to Bloomberg, has been touting her conservative credentials in the anticipation she will be chosen.

However, it is reported that Trump is favoring Joseph Simons, a Washington lawyer, and partner at the Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison law firm.

Simons did work at the FTC during the George W. Bush administration and is currently the front-runner for the job. He served as the chief antitrust enforcer at the FTC, as director of the Bureau of Competition, from June 2001 to August 2003, according to his bio on the law firm’s website.

A decision is expected in September, Bloomberg reported. Trump is choosing his FTC chairman much later than past presidents – Obama had made his selection in February 2009 and Bush did so in March 2001.

Others under consideration for the open seats at the FTC are Noah Phillips, chief counsel for Texas Senator John Cornyn, and Christine Wilson, a lawyer for Delta Air Lines, both running for the Republican seat.

Rohit Chopra, a senior fellow at the Consumer Federation of America, is being considered for the Democratic seat.

Joseph Simons

Bloomberg noted that the new FTC chairperson will play a critical role in the review of the proposed takeover of Whole Foods Market Inc. by Amazon Inc. The initial review of this case is set to expire before a new chairperson may be appointed, but it is deemed possible the review period will be extended.

Additional details about Simons’ previous experience at the FTC is described as follows in his bio, a snippet can also be read below:

Under his leadership, the Commission pursued a strong bipartisan enforcement agenda under which all but one of the more than 70 antitrust enforcement actions taken by the agency were by unanimous vote. During his tenure, the FTC prevailed in all of the 46 merger enforcement actions taken by the Commission. Joe was responsible for overseeing the re-invigoration of the FTC’s non-merger enforcement program, initiating well over 100 investigations in two years and producing more non-merger enforcement actions in one year than in any year in the prior two decades. He also initiated a new emphasis at the FTC on administrative litigation, substantially increasing the number of trials before the agency, including merger, monopolization and horizontal restraint cases.

Joe has extensive experience representing clients before the FTC, the Department of Justice, the Department of Defense, and Congress in a wide range of antitrust and regulatory matters, from the largest mergers and acquisitions to price fixing and novel predation and vertical restraints cases. He has represented clients in numerous industries ranging from airlines and computer reservations systems to telecommunications, defense contracting, consumer electronics, music, financial services, credit cards, transportation, agriculture, health care, soft drink concentrate, beer, aluminum can sheet and software.

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