The Senate Commitee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation has scheduled a Full Committee Hearing on the nominations of J. Thomas Rosch and William Kovacic to be Federal Trade Commissioners. This hearing will be held on Monday, November 14, 2005, at 2:30 p.m., in Room 562 of the Dirksen Building.
Click here for video of this hearing.
Click here for video of this hearing.
U.S. Senator Ted Stevens
Opening Remarks of Chairman Ted Stevens
FTC Nominations Hearing
November 14, 2005
TODAY THE COMMITTEE WILL HEAR FROM TWO NOMINEES TO THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION. J. THOMAS ROSCH IS A NOTED ANTITRUST LAWYER WHO CURRENTLY PRACTICES LAW IN SAN FRANCISCO. HE HAS CHAIRED THE ANTITRUST SECTIONS OF BOTH THE AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION AND THE CALIFORNIA BAR ASSOCIATION. EARLY IN MR. ROSCH’S CAREER HE WAS DIRECTOR OF THE F.T.C.’S BUREAU OF CONSUMER PROTECTION. WE MIGHT LOOK AT YOUR NOMINATION AS A DELAYED PROMOTION, MR. ROSCH. WILLIAM KOVACIC IS A PROFESSOR OF LAW AT GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY. HE ALSO SERVED AS THE F.T.C.’S GENERAL COUNSEL FROM 2001 THROUGH 2004. PRIOR TO HIS DISTINGUISHED ACADEMIC CAREER, MR. KOVACIC SERVED AS ATTORNEY-ADVISOR TO F.T.C. COMMISSIONER DOUGLAS FOR THREE YEARS AND AS AN ATTORNEY IN THE F.T.C.’S BUREAU OF COMPETITION. HE ALSO HAS BEEN NOMINATED TO RETURN TO THE AGENCY WHERE HE BEGAN HIS LEGAL CAREER. MR. ROSCH AND MR. KOVACIC WILL BRING DIVERSE BACKGROUNDS AND SUBSTANTIAL EXPERIENCE TO THE F.T.C. I BELIEVE THEY WILL BE A STRONG COMPLEMENT TO CHAIRMAN MAJORAS AND I SUPPORT THEIR NOMINATIONS.
Witness Panel 1
The Honorable J. Thomas RoschCommissionerFederal Trade Commission
J. Thomas Rosch
Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation
November 14, 2005
Mr. Chairman, Co-chairman Inouye, distinguished members of this distinguished Committee. At the outset, let me express my gratitude to you for permitting us to appear before you today. I know you have a lot of things on your plate, and it is very good of you to fit us in. I would also like to take a minute to introduce the members of my family who have come from Calif and Illinois to be with me this afternoon: my wife of 44 years, Kitty; our son, Tom, and his wife, Debbie; our daughter, Laura Gillette, and her husband, Ed; and my four granddaughters who are about to get the civics lesson of their life, in order of age– Amy (who is six minutes older than Catherine), Catherine, Carolyn and Julia. Mr. Chairman, I’ve had the privilege of meeting with a number of you–or your staffs– including the staff of this committee– during the past month. I’d like to share with you briefly a couple of frequently asked questions, as well as my answers to those questions. First, I’ve frequently been asked what I consider to be the Commission’s likely priorities over the next few years. They are three fold: energy, health care and high tech (including biotech). That is so for two reasons. To begin with, those three sectors collectively account for a huge share of this nation’s economy. Second, there are unique challenges to effective law enforcement in those sectors. That said, there is a unifying principle, and that principle is VISIBLE PRESENCE. I am a great admirer of the way the highway patrol does its job. When they’re on my tail, I tend to drive very cautiously. I think it’s equally critical to effective law enforcement for the Commission to have a visible presence in these (as well as other) sectors. With respect to consumer protection specifically, I’ve had occasion to review the chart in the office that adjoins this hearing room: the Top Ten list of unfair or deceptive acts or practices. I’m struck by the extent to which they are the same or similar acts or practices with which the Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection was concerned when I had the privilege of serving as its Director 30 years ago. But I’m also struck by the differences. Thirty years ago, those acts or practices occurred primarily in a bricks or mortar context. Today, they occur primarily in the Internet milieu. Additionally, the Internet has spawned some new problems–spam; spyware; identity theft; privacy invasion–which I know the Commission has been working on closely with this Committee. I believe that both the Commission and this Committee must focus on the Internet. To do that, we need the US Safe Web Act to facilitate cross border cooperation because Internet wrongdoing impacting the US can occur just as easily overseas as it can here at home. So I thank this Committee for its support for this legislation and express the hope that it is soon enacted. Finally, Mr. Chairman, I’ve been frequently asked why I am interested in this position. That’s the easiest question. Kitty and I were a couple of Nebraska kids. Over the past 65 plus years of our lives, this country has been extraordinarily good to us. It’s time for us to give back. And we’ve concluded that the best way to do that is to share with the Commission the background and experience I’ve had in antitrust and consumer protection that I’ve had over the past 40 years. That’s what I plan to do. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the attraction of working at an agency with a staff like the Commission’s. They were superb 30 years ago, they are superb today. We’ll have our difference because our roles are different. But those difference will be discussed civilly, respectfully and professionally. So, if confirmed, I look forward to returning to the FTC again. Thank you.
The Honorable William E. KovacicCommissionerFederal Trade Commission
William E. Kovacic
Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation
November 14, 2005
Chairman Stevens, Co-Chairman Inouye, and members of the Commerce Committee. I am deeply honored that President Bush has nominated me to be a member of the Federal Trade Commission, and I am most grateful to this Committee for considering my appointment. I also thank the staff of this Committee and the staffs of the Committee’s members for their generous, thoughtful assistance. Let me also recognize my considerable debt to FTC Chairman Majoras, Commissioners Leary, Harbour, and Leibowitz, and to the FTC’s Office of Congressional Relations for guiding me in this process. And no person has been more helpful to me than Orson Swindle, whose seat I would occupy if I am fortunate to be confirmed. I began my acquaintance with the Federal Trade Commission thirty years ago in serving as a legislative assistant on the majority staff of Senator Philip Hart’s Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust and Monopoly. In my year with Senator Hart’s subcommittee staff, I studied the agency while working on the measure that Congress enacted in 1976 as the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act. The FTC became, and has remained, the principal focus of my professional life. Twice before I have worked at the Commission, first as a staff attorney and an attorney advisor from 1979 to 1983, and then as the agency’s General Counsel from 2001 through 2004. More the any other subject, the FTC has occupied my attention as an academic and a researcher. My aim in seeking your approval is not simply to return, once again, to a wonderful institution that is dear to me. There is a vast difference between simply having a job and doing something useful with the job. If I am fortunate to be confirmed, I will apply my knowledge and experience to the challenges that now command the careful attention of the Commission’s members and its exceptional staff. Three priorities stand out. The first is to participate in devising effective litigation and non-litigation strategies to address the competition and consumer protection issues of greatest concern to consumers. The most pressing matters include energy – a subject whose importance was underscored in this Committee’s hearings last week -- health care, and information security and privacy. The second is to contribute to the Commission’s existing efforts to enhance the infrastructure of cooperation and coordination with government institutions at home and abroad to strengthen the implementation of competition and consumer protection policy. The third is to help ensure that the Commission sustains and enhances the deep base of knowledge that is indispensable to success in formulating competition and consumer protection programs. Key means to this end include investments in research and analysis and the maintenance and continuing enhancement of the FTC’s already superb staff of attorneys, economists, and administrative professionals. My larger ambition mirrors the goal that Chairman Majoras set for the agency’s leadership when she celebrated the FTC’s 90th anniversary in September last year. Academic and popular commentators often exhort government officials to “pick the low hanging fruit.” These observers rarely urge policy makers to plant trees that will bear fruit long after they have left office. I would measure my own contributions not simply by the output of current policy initiatives, but also by investments that make the FTC successful for the longer term. If I am fortunate to be confirmed, I will do my best to work with the members of the Commission, the agency’s staff, and the members of this Committee to fulfill the destiny that Senator Albert Cummins foresaw for the FTC in the year of its creation – to make the Federal Trade Commission “the most efficient protection to the people of the United States that Congress has ever given . . . by way of a regulation of commerce.” I look forward to your questions.