President Obama so far has had the opportunity to fill two Commissioner openings at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and we’re proud that he appointed women to both. Sworn in last April, Edith Ramirez became the 12th female Commissioner in the agency’s 96-year history, and Julie Brill became the 13th. The FTC deals with issues that touch the economic lives of women and all Americans - it is the only federal agency with both consumer protection and competition jurisdiction in broad sectors of the nation’s economy.
The new Commissioners have settled into their terms. Commissioner Ramirez said she has “found her first six months both energizing and exciting.” The issues she cares about most deeply include stopping fraud that targets people hit hard by the economic downturn, protecting consumers’ online privacy -be it on a social network, commercial website, or mobile app- fighting deceptive “green” advertising claims, and helping the agency reach consumers in underserved communities. Similarly, Commissioner Brill says that she wants to focus on “frauds that aim to take consumers’ last dollar,” as well as the substantiation of health advertising claims. She also plans to continue her long-standing work relating to consumer privacy issues, both online and offline. On the competition side, Commissioner Brill is interested in health care issues, particularly pharmaceutical matters and health care reform, and issues relating to high-tech, newly emerging markets.
Both women came to the FTC with distinguished legal backgrounds. Edith Ramirez was a litigator at a major law firm in Los Angeles, where she represented clients in false advertising, intellectual property, and antitrust cases. She went to college and law school at Harvard, where she served on the Harvard Law Review with President Obama. A native of southern California, Commissioner Ramirez has been active in the Latino and wider Los Angeles communities, serving as a board member of a legal services organization and as a commissioner of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. Julie Brill joined the Commission with over 20 years of experience with state Attorneys General offices, first in Vermont and more recently in North Carolina, where she led both consumer protection and antitrust enforcement. She oversaw initiatives on privacy, pharmaceutical matters, tobacco, and financial fraud for the states. Commissioner Brill graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University and from New York University School of Law, where she received a Root-Tilden Scholarship for her commitment to public service.
These impressive women bring a remarkable passion to protecting America’s consumers, and the FTC staff is proud to have them lead our agency.
Judith Bailey, Deputy Director of the Office of Congressional Relations and Intergovernmental Affairs at the Federal Trade Commission