Consumer Groups Ask FTC Head To Recuse Herself

Two consumer groups have asked Deborah Platt Majoras, the chair of the FTC, to recuse herself from the antitrust review of Google’s purchase of Doubleclick. Majoras is married to a partner at Jones Day law firm, which represents Doubleclick.

Majoras’ husband is not directly involved in the Google/Doubleclick review according to the Jones Day website, and the firm says it’s not representing Doubleclick before the FTC. But according to the consumer groups,

Jones Day’s Web site says that it is representing DoubleClick, an online advertising services firm, “on the international and U.S. antitrust and competition law aspects” of the deal…

Majoras has recused herself in the past when the Jones Day firm was involved. In the Doubleclick review, however, her relationship to a Jones Day partner was never made public—it was only discovered by the two groups, the Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Center for Digital Democracy, this past Monday.

(We’re not sure how that works out—if she’s announced it in the past, then wasn’t it already known? We’re curious to find out why the two groups just now noticed this detail.)

“Consumer Groups Seek Recusal of FTC Head” [Motley Fool]
(Photo: Getty)

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  1. Bay State Darren says:

    Well then maybe she should be heading-aw hell, after six-plus years, we’re used to this shit.

  2. Bay State Darren says:

    @Bay State Darren: shouldn’t!

  3. chesterj1 says:

    We have been focused on the competition/market structure and privacy issues. It was only on Monday, that I examined some of the lobbying issues, and discovered the Jones Day/Doubleclick connection. Working with our colleague, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, we then prepared a legal brief for the recusal. All of these important issues require transparency and public accountability. That’s why, in part, it was important to immediately file in this case–regardless of the political impact or the commission’s final decision.

    Jeff Chester
    Center for Digital Democracy

  4. coren says:

    I don’t know that she would have had to announce her reasons for recusing herself during the other reviews, just that she was. Course, that would have got people’s attention, cuz there had to be some reason…

  5. rhombopteryx says:

    Who cares about what she’s announced in the past? Blatant conflicts of interest by presidential appointees are, like B.S.D. says above, old hat with this presidency. So what if her husband stands to share in a bonus payment of millions of dollars if this deal goes through? I’m sure his share of that won’t influence her at all. How about focusing on the other 800 pound gorrilla in this story? A major law firm told the FTC it is not working with Doubleclick on the U.S. case, but yet the firm’s website advertises their antitrust skill, noting that they are working on the “U.S. antitrust and competition law aspects” of the deal. So screw antitrust, how is that not false advertising by JonesDay? There oughtta be an FTC investigation into that…

  6. rhombopteryx says:

    Oops. Guess even JonesDay thinks they are doing something wrong… The firm’s announcement page has been pulled. You’d think that they’d know more about the company their client is merging with – Google’s cache still has the announcement.