Uses Special Powers to Bypass Senatorial Objections

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WASHINGTON ( -- Using his congressional recess appointment powers to bypass the objections of Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., President Bush has named antitrust lawyer
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Deborah Majoras the new chairman of the Federal Trade Commission.

Replaces Muris
Ms. Majoras will replace Timothy J. Muris, who departs his position Aug. 15.

Mr. Wyden previously said his objections to Ms. Majoras stemmed from his concerns about gasoline prices and the FTC's failure to investigate rising prices. Mr. Wyden used a parliamentary maneuver to block a vote on her confirmation in the Senate Commerce Committee two weeks ago.

In the same Friday announcement, the president also appointed Jon D. Leibowitz of Maryland to replace Mozelle Thompson as an FTC commissioner. As recess appointments, both will serve as commission members until December 2005.

Consumer protection impact
The FTC is the lead consumer protection agency supervising most marketers, and executive changes could impact both the FTC's oversight of anti-trust mergers and its oversight of consumer protection issues.

The two appointments have been controversial. Ms. Majoras has no consumer protection experience but was principal deputy assistant attorney general for antitrust at the Justice Department during the term of former Assistant Attorney General Charles A. James, early in the Bush administration. While there she helped negotiate the Justice Department's settlement of the Microsoft Corp. antitrust case. She argued the case for the federal government during an appellate court hearing as some state attorneys general challenged the government's settlement.

Mr. Leibowitz, who was a lobbyist for the Motion Picture Association of America, was criticized by some groups concerned about the marketing of violent entertainment to children.

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