Federal Trade Commission doesn't play politics

Thursday, December 24, 2009; A14

The Dec. 17 front-page article "Intel sued by U.S. on antitrust grounds" described the Federal Trade Commission's complaint as a "major step for President Obama," consistent with his campaign promise to "reinvigorate antitrust enforcement." The commission's complaint may indeed break new ground in antitrust enforcement, but it has nothing to do with party politics.

The Intel complaint was issued by one Democrat, one Republican and one independent, each of whom was appointed to the FTC by President George W. Bush. (Another Bush appointee recused himself, and one seat is vacant.) People seem to forget that the FTC is a bipartisan independent agency.

As a Republican FTC commissioner appointed by a Democratic president, I can vouch for the agency's independence. During my service from 1999 to 2005 in the administrations of presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush, I never received a direct or indirect policy recommendation on a pending matter from anyone in the White House or from any of the people in Congress who had actively supported me.

Thomas Leary, Washington

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