GW Brief: Former GW Law professor naimed chairman of the FTC

Former GW Law School professor William E. Kovacic took over as chairman of the Federal Trade Commission earlier this month following his appointment by President George W. Bush.

Kovacic, whom Bush tapped for the job in January, was the E.K. Gubin professor of government contracts law at GW from 1999 until 2006.

“It is an enormous honor and privilege to serve as the chairman of this jewel of an agency,” Kovacic wrote in an e-mail. “From the time I joined the FTC as a junior attorney in the Bureau of Competition, I have hoped that I would have the opportunity to serve this institution in a leadership capacity.”

Kovacic was the general counsel for the FTC from 2001 to 2004. He has served as a commissioner for the FTC since January 2006, and he is one of two Republicans left on the FTC after the departure of former chair Deborah Platt Majoras.

“As the chairman, I am the equivalent of the chief operating officer and am responsible for the day-to-day management and operations of the agency,” he said.

The FTC is responsible for enforcing consumer protection laws. It also shares the responsibility to enforce antitrust laws with the Justice Department. Kovacic said the FTC has been instrumental with the “Do Not Call Rule,” its antitrust enforcement program involving the pharmaceutical industry and its efforts to curb identity theft and other forms of fraud.

“Not a day goes by when the FTC does not do something significant for the benefit of consumers, and for the improvement of competition law and consumer protection policy worldwide,” Kovacic said.

Other Law School professors said they are pleased to see one of their own given such a prestigious job and consider Kovacic’s appointment well deserved.

“He’s extremely well respected in the community,” said Steven L. Schooner, senior associate dean for academic affairs and associate professor of law. “He’s a wonderful person to work with.”

Thomas Morgan, Oppenheim professor of antitrust and trade regulation law at GW, said he agreed with Schooner on Kovacic’s appointment.

“It’s marvelous,” Morgan said. “He is very collegial. He is very smart.”

He added, “He’s somebody who is well regarded in the anti-trust field as well as consumer protection, quite apart from his work at the Federal Trade Commission, so he brings a wealth of practical experience, academic understanding and political institutions that will serve him well at the commission.”

Both professors agreed they hope Kovacic returns to the Law School as a professor.

Schooner said, “The day he is done with the government and gets back here will be a great day for GW.”

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