Biden Nominates New FTC Commissioner, And How That May Impact Chopra’s Move to CFPB

In a move that many feel is a precursor to Rohit Chopra’s nomination to be the next director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, President Joe Biden yesterday announced that he had tapped Lina Khan to be a commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission.

Here is how the dominoes need to fall, according to published reports, in order for Chopra’s nomination to be put before the entire Senate — he has already been confirmed by the Senate Banking Committee — and have him take over the CFPB.

Chopra is currently a commissioner of the FTC. There are normally five commissioners, including a chairman, with the majority swinging in favor of whichever political party is in the White House. But there are only four commissioners at the FTC currently — two Democrats and two Republicans — following the resignation of former Chairman Joseph Simons. If Chopra were to resign so he could take over the CFPB, that would leave Republicans with a 2-to-1 majority at the FTC. Rather than have that occur, the expectation is that Chopra will remain at the CFPB until the Biden administration nominates a replacement for Simons.

Khan, who currently teaches at Columbia Law School, previously worked at the FTC, where she was a legal adviser to … you guess it, Rohit Chopra. Published reports described Khan as someone who has criticized the power and size of big technology companies like Google and Facebook and who is an expert in antitrust litigation.

Republicans were quick to call out Khan’s relative inexperience. Should she be confirmed, the 32-year-old would be the youngest commissioner in the history of the FTC.

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