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President Clinton's nomination last week of Sheila F. Anthony to the Federal Trade Commission will give Democrats their first majority on the commission since President Reagan's first term.

How that majority will translate into the FTC's regulation of advertising issues isn't clear, however, according to people who watch the agency closely.


"I know who she is and where she is coming from, but I don't know much about her politics or position," said Hal Shoup, exec VP of the American Association of Advertising Agencies. "But I think it would be difficult for [President Clinton] to appoint someone to the FTC that didn't line up with his views and policy. I would think she would be sympathetic to his position on alcohol advertising and cigarette advertising."

Ms. Anthony, the sister of former White House Deputy Counsel Vincent Foster Jr., would take the seat of Republican Janet Steiger.

It was not clear last week whether some Senate Republicans who repeatedly challenged the handling of the investigation into Mr. Foster's death would seek to bring that issue to Ms. Anthony's confirmation hearings.

Ms. Anthony is married to former Arkansas Democratic Rep. Beryl Anthony, and both are longtime friends of the Clintons.

A Washington lawyer whose specialty was intellectual property law, including trademark, copyright, unfair competition and licensing, as well as technology transfer, she quickly joined the Clinton administration.


Ms. Anthony was chosen by incoming Attorney General Janet Reno for one of the top department posts, assistant attorney general for legislative affairs. While serving in the post from 1993 to 1995, she was legislative liaison to Congress and the White House and also oversaw confirmation hearings for departmental nominees.

"She had terrific people skills. She also was a dynamite lawyer," said Bill Perry, managing partner of the law firm where Ms. Anthony worked from 1985-93.

Ms. Steiger joined the commission as chairman in 1989 and served in that post until Robert Pitofsky was appointed in April 1995. She has been a commissioner since.

Ms. Steiger's term ended last September, though she has stayed on pending appointment of a replacement.

With Ms. Anthony, Mr. Pitofsky and member Christine Varney, Democrats will have

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