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FTC’s Simons Announces New Appointments, Including Hire of Industry Lawyer as Consumer Protection Chief

Joseph Simons, the new chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, has started filling out his roster of senior staffers.

Among the hires announced yesterday by Simons was Andrew Smith, an industry lawyer who has been tapped to lead the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. Most recently, Smith was a partner at the law firm of Covington & Burling. He is also chairman of the American Bar Association’s Consumer Financial Services Committee.

Smith previously worked at the FTC and “lead” the team in helping enact the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACT).

Smith was representing Facebook, Uber, and Equifax, each of which has been or is being investigated by the FTC, and has also represented a payday lender founded by convicted racketeer Scott Tucker.

Needless to say, Democrats had a tough time accepting Smith’s appointment.

“It’s outrageous the FTC would pick the lawyer for a criminally convicted racketeer’s payday loan company as consumer protection chief,” said Senator Elizabeth Warren, [D-Mass]. “The agency should pick someone with a track record of protecting consumers, not companies that cheat people.”

Smith was confirmed by the FTC’s commissioners on a vote of 3-to-2, with both Democratic commissioners opposing the appointment.

Simons also named D. Bruce Hoffman as director of the Bureau of Competition, Bruce H. Kobayashi as director of the FTC’s Bureau of Economics, and Alden Abbott as general counsel.

 

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