Feb 13, 2017 - Technology

Conservatives line up behind Ohlhausen for FTC Chair

Conservative groups have thrown their support behind acting FTC Chairwoman Maureen Ohlhausen amid rumors that Utah attorney general Sean Reyes is gaining traction for the permanent role.

Ken Blackwell, who was a senior domestic policy advisor to the Trump transition team, said in a Sunday blog post that "it is time to cement her leadership by naming her permanent chair — which many leading conservatives have advocated."

"The time has come for our government officials to be more circumspect in their advocacy for government intervention…Ohlhausen's understanding that there are limits on what regulators can and should do, and the harm that too much government action can have, is precisely what makes her a great chair."

In context: Speculation swirled that Ohlhausen was not the leading candidate for the top FTC role when she was merely named acting chair while Ajit Pai, her counterpart at the FCC, was elevated to permanent chair. She's made a point in recent weeks to crystalize her commitment to a business-first, free-market agenda and what she calls "regulatory humility."

The rub: Ohlhausen takes a traditional Republican approach to antitrust, but some antitrust experts tell Axios that may not square with Trump's more populist view that doesn't rule out some government intervention to keep dominant players in check. In a letter to the FTC last year, Reyes suggested re-opening a Google investigation.

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