By Diane Bartz
WASHINGTON, Dec 20 (Reuters) - A Senate committee sent the
nomination of Joshua Wright to join the Federal Trade Commission
on to the full Senate on Thursday, despite an acrimonious
confirmation hearing in which Wright pledged to recuse himself
from any Google investigation for two years because of conflicts
The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee
did not vote on Wright's nomination, or that of other nominees,
because it was unable to reach a quorum, said a senate aide, who
asked not to be named.
The committee also sent straight to the Senate the
nomination of Mignon Clyburn, a Democrat and the daughter of
South Carolina Representative Jim Clyburn. She has been
nominated to serve a second term at the Federal Communications
Commission, which regulates telecommunications. She joined the
FCC in 2009.
It is unclear when the Senate will vote on the nominations.
Wright, a law professor at George Mason University, drew
fire at his confirmation hearing on Dec. 4 because he has served
as director of research at the International Center for Law and
Economics, which received funding from Google. In academic
papers he has also questioned the merits of bringing an
antitrust case against the Web search giant.
The FTC is investigating allegations that Google broke
Wright, a Republican, faced pointed questions at a
confirmation hearing about his criticisms of the FTC's Google
probe, as well as about articles he has written criticizing
efforts to rein in banks accused of abusive lending.
He was also questioned sharply on his position regarding the
potential manipulation of gas prices, which fall under the FTC's
If confirmed by the Senate, Wright will replace Republican
Thomas Rosch on the agency's five-member commission. Rosch's
term has ended.
The nomination is one of three to be filled among antitrust
enforcers. The second is the Justice Department's assistant
attorney general for antitrust, a position that has been vacant
since August 2011. Respected antitrust veteran William Baer was
nominated, but his nomination has stalled without explanation.
The FTC chairman, Jon Leibowitz, is expected to step down
within two months. The front runners to replace him are thought
to be current Democratic commissioners Edith Ramirez and Julie
Brill, or Howard Shelanski, director of the FTC's Bureau of
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