WASHINGTON, DC – Consumer Watchdog today called on Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.VA) to oppose Joshua Wright’s Nomination to the Federal Trade Commission, saying, “We cannot imagine a nominee who is more ill suited to serve as a Commissioner.”
In a letter to Sen. Rockefeller, John M. Simpson, the nonprofit, nonpartisan group’s Privacy Project Director wrote:
“Simply put, Wright has repeatedly advocated against laws and regulations that protect consumers and has argued against strong antitrust enforcement. Worse, he has a record of support for, and financial ties to, Google, whose activities are one of the major ongoing issues confronting the Commission.”
“The next Commissioner should be a truly disinterested party who would consider only facts gathered by the FTC staff when making a decision,” the letter continued. “Wright is not such an individual; he is widely on record as opposing antitrust action against Google and has been funded by organizations that receive money from the company.”
The Senate Commerce Committee will consider Wright’s nomination at a hearing on Tuesday.
Wright is the research director and a board member of the International Center for Law and Economics (ICLE), which receives funds from Google, Consumer Watchdog noted. He has authored or co-authored several white papers supporting Google that were funded by ICLE. Wright is a Senior Adjunct Fellow at TechFreedom.org, a self-described “technology policy think tank,” which also receives Google money.
“It makes no sense to approve a nominee who would have to recuse himself from any decisions about what the Commission should do about the Internet giant’s abuses,” the letter said.
The letter continued:
“Wright has been an advocate of an anti-regulatory, hands-off approach that would ill serve consumers. He opposed the landmark Dodd-Frank Act and is hostile to that reform’s greatest achievement for consumers, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Undoubtedly he would work to thwart any cooperation between the FTC and the CFPB.
“Wright has spoken out against the need for a Do Not Track mechanism to protect consumers’ online privacy, a key recommendation in the Commission’s landmark report, Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change.”
“The Federal Trade Commission has a tradition of acting in a bipartisan manner in its effort to protect consumers. Naturally, Commissioners have brought a variety of philosophical approaches to the agency, but generally have been able to operate within a broad consensus on many key issues. Wright, we believe, falls outside that mainstream and would be unable to make effective contributions to the agency.”