(Adds background on McSweeny and the commission)
WASHINGTON, April 9 The U.S. Senate on Wednesday
overwhelmingly approved the nomination of Justice Department
official Terrell McSweeny to be the third Democratic
commissioner on the five-member Federal Trade Commission.
McSweeny, nominated in June, is a former domestic policy
adviser to Vice President Joe Biden and is now chief counsel for
competition policy at the Justice Department's antitrust
The vote was 95-1 for McSweeny with David Vitter, a
Republican from Louisiana, voting against her nomination.
McSweeny's confirmation will give Democrats a majority on
the FTC, which works with the U.S. Department of Justice to
enforce antitrust law and investigates allegations of deceptive
advertising, among other responsibilities.
The commission is chaired by Edith Ramirez, a Democrat and a
law school classmate of President Barack Obama. The third
Democrat is Julie Brill. Rounding out the group are Republicans
Maureen Ohlhausen and Joshua Wright.
"We are delighted that the Senate has confirmed Terrell
McSweeny to serve as an FTC Commissioner. Terrell is a dedicated
public servant, and we look forward to working with her on the
many important issues facing the Commission," Ramirez said in a
The FTC is currently considering several mergers, including
a plan by food distributor Sysco Corp to merge with
rival U.S. Foods Inc., and a proposed combination of
grocery chains Kroger and Harris Teeter.
Before McSweeny's confirmation there had been concern that
some merger decisions could end in a 2-2 tie. In the case of a
deadlocked vote by commissioners, the FTC takes no action.
The agency is also pursuing the issue of "patent trolls,"
companies which assemble portfolios of weak patents and then
demand licensing fees from large numbers of companies for
It also works on online privacy issues, which can pit
companies against consumers, and pursues companies accused of
(Reporting by Ros Krasny and Diane Bartz; Editing by Sandra