FTC Nominee Grilled by Senate Panel

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Wright Said He'd Recuse Himself From Google Case

If the Senate clears his nomination for the Federal Trade Commission, Joshua Wright will sit out the agency's investigation into Google.

In response to some tough questioning Tuesday from several Senate Democrats on the Commerce Committee during his nomination hearing, Wright said he would recuse himself from the antitrust probe into Google.

An economist and law professor at George Mason University, Wright had his conservative views on the FTC's antitrust authority come under fire from Senate Dems, who were concerned that a paper Wright wrote last year criticized the FTC's investigation of Google.

"You have written some things that give me pause," Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said to Wright. "Your comments indicate you doubt the FTC's mission."

Prior to the hearing, Consumer Watchdog sent a letter to Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) urging him to oppose Wright's nomination.

"Wright has repeatedly advocated against laws and regulations that protect consumers and has argued against strong antitrust enforcement. Worse, he has a record of support for, and financial ties to, Google, whose activities are one of the major ongoing issues confronting the commission," John Simpson, Consumer Watchdog's privacy project director wrote.

Whether Wright's recusal from Google will be enough to win over lawmakers remains to be seen. Senators gave him a long "to do" list, requesting he provide a lot of additional documentation and explanations to the senators, who are planning to take up his nomination, along with three others, next week.

Wright was nominated by President Obama earlier this year to replace outgoing Republican Commissioner Thomas Rosch.

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