May 18, 2018

Fox named to FTC chicken coop

Intercept - In a rare party-line vote, the Federal Trade Commission appointed a corporate lawyer who has represented Uber, Equifax, Facebook, and a jailed payday lender to run its Bureau of Consumer Protection. The appointment [of Andrew Smith] was one of the first moves of the new five-member panel, all of whom were confirmed by the Senate last month.

As the New York Times explained last week, while Smith once worked at the FTC, he was most recently a partner with the financial services practice at Covington & Burling, a leading white-collar defense firm. His clients included dozens of financial institutions, credit-reporting agencies, and tech firms, including players in some of the most notorious corporate scandals of the past several years. For example, Smith represented convicted payday lender Scott Tucker, from whom the FTC won a $1.3 billion judgment for deceiving and exploiting consumers. Tucker faces 16 years in prison.

Three other Smith-repped companies have active investigations at the FTC: Facebook, for potentially violating a 2011 consent decree over safeguarding user privacy; and Uber and Equifax, over separate data breaches that exposed the personal information of hundreds of millions of Americans. Smith even testified on Equifax’s behalf in the Senate last year.

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