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WASHINGTON-The only question that remained about the Clinton administration's Federal Trade Commission nominees late last week was just how quickly Robert Pitofsky and Christine Varney would be confirmed by the Senate.

The White House nominated Mr. Pitofsky for FTC chairman last week after he was rumored to be the choice for several weeks (AA, Sept. 5). He served as an FTC commissioner from 1978-1981 and as head of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection from 1970-73, and is highly regarded by advertising and consumer groups, Democrats and Republicans. Currently, he's a law professor at George Washington University.

Ms. Varney is slated to inherit the seat previously held by Dennis Yao, while Mr. Pitofsky's confirmation would likely mean the current chairman, Janet Steiger, would move to commissioner status.

Advertising and its regulation received no discussion during Ms. Varney's confirmation hearing earlier last week before the Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee, which focused on antitrust matters.

During the 18-minute hearing, the deputy assistant to the president answered nine questions put to her by the only lawmaker attending the hearing, Sen. Richard Bryan (D., Nev.). Not a single question or answer even contained the word "advertising."

And when Sen. Bryan asked Ms. Varney, an attorney experienced in regulatory, antitrust and election law, about her own priorities at the FTC, she cited two antitrust issues and telemarketing.

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