The top consumer protection official at the Federal Trade Commission is barred from handling cases involving more than 100 different companies due to conflicts of interest from his prior work as a private sector attorney, according to documents obtained by Public Citizen.
Andrew Smith, who last May became the director of the FTC’s Consumer Protection Bureau, listed 120 conflicts on a financial disclosure form obtained by Public Citizen. Among them are Facebook, Equifax and Uber, all of which are either under investigation by the FTC or operating under consent agreements with the agency. The Hill has the story, here.
As the New York Times reported, here, when Smith was confirmed, "The new director of the Federal Trade Commission’s consumer protection unit, a watchdog with broad investigative powers over private companies, stands out even in an administration prone to turning over regulatory authority to pro-industry players."