As expected, Michael Pertschuk, President Carter's nominee to head the Federal Trade Commission, did not have much trouble passing muster before the Senate Commerce Committee yesterday at a hearing on his confirmation.
Pertschuk, 44, who has been employed by the committee since 1964 - most of the time as its chief counsel - joked that he was a graduate of the "Magnuson Academy of Public Administration." Committee Chairman Warren G. Magnuson (D-Wash.) said the nominee had "dutifully served" the committee, and complimented the President for recognizing his "talents."
Pertschuk is not expected to have any trouble winning th committee's approval at its executive session on Tuesday or full Senate confirmation.He has been nominated to fill out the remainder of a term ending in September as well as a full seven-year term. The President has said that when Pertschuk is confirmed by the Senate as a member of the commission, the President will designate him as chairman.
During the hearing yesterday and in answer to questions submitted to him by the committee, Pertschuk pledged to:
Serve out his full term - through September 1984 - and never to practice before the FTC, as a personal step to eliminate the "revolving door" between regulatory service and private practice.
Cut down on delays, as do all nominees to every regulatory agency. Commenting on the size of the hearing record of a recent FTC rule-making proceeding, Pertschuk complained.
Circumscribe his contacts with those who might have a stake in commission activities - even those contacts that are not improper - in order to avoid even the appearance of collusive relationships. Pertschuk said he would keep the door open to meetings with representatives of business or other economic interests - when they are not inappropriate - but would make sure other affected parties including consumer representatives, also were invited.
In looking at theantitrust work of the agency, Pertschuk suggested he would like to see the commission produce more studies - as it once did - of market distortions, develop alternatives - like legislative proposals - to "seemingly endless" litigation of major structural cases, and use rule-making proceedings in some instances to outline anticompetitive practices. [TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCE] discussing advertising, he suggested that "the literal truth" of an ad is no defense when it manipulates sound and symbol to exploit children and that creating a false impression in an ad by omitting significant facts may well be unfair or deceptive.
Henry Etzkowitz, who testified against Pertschuk's confirmation as a representative of the "Committee for an Effective Trade Commission," got a chilly - if not downright antagonistic - reception from committee members.
Etzkowitz, who said the group was formed two months ago and has 12 members, suggested that the committee disqualify itself from considering the nomination because its association with Pertschuk constituted a conflict of interest.