Bush pushes Muris for FTC

Republican model favors marketplace over government regulation

WASHINGTON — A Washington lawyer who cut his teeth working for the Reagan administration has been nominated by President Bush to head the Federal Trade Commission, where he is likely to pursue a policy favoring mergers.

Timothy Muris, a law professor at George Mason U, will now have to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate before he can replace outgoing FTC topper Robert Pitofsky.

The FTC is critical to the media and entertainment industry, as its Washington’s chief antitrust watchdog and consumer protection arm.

During Pitofsky’s tenure, agency had a say in the megamerger of AOL Time Warner, as well as in the antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft.

By all accounts, Muris fits the Republican profile, in that he favors the marketplace over government regulation.

Muris is no stranger to Muris; he worked there as a junior lawyer in the 1970s, and again several years later during the Reagan years. During his second stint, Muris was in the Bureau of Consumer Protection and the Bureau of Competition.

Pitofsky said Thursday that he plans to step down as soon as Muris is given the OK by the Senate.

“I am willing to stay on as chairman until that time to make sure the FTC enjoys a smooth transition. However, I anticipate that the new chairman should be in place by June 1 at the latest,” said Pitofsky.

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