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Edith Ramirez will be named FTC chief

Feb. 28, 2013 - 12:53PM   |  
By JAYNE O’DONNELL and DAVID JACKSON   |   Comments
Edith Ramirez will be named chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, USA Today is reporting.
Edith Ramirez will be named chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, USA Today is reporting. (FTC via USA Today)

Edith Ramirez will be named to chair the Federal Trade Commission, USA TODAY confirmed Thursday.

President Obama plans to appoint his former law school classmate and friend who worked on his presidential campaigns to head up the government agency. She has been an FTC commissioner since 2010.

The FTC has authority over antitrust and consumer protection matters, such as deceptive advertising claims and anti-pyramid scheme enforcement.

For the past few years, Ramirez has focused on intellectual property law in the technology arena and has also worked on cases to help protect vulnerable consumer communities, such as the poor and those who don’t speak English.

Jodie Bernstein, who headed the FTC’s consumer protection bureau during the Clinton administration, said Ramirez will continue to be a strong advocate for Hispanics. While at the FTC, Ramirez has led outreach to the Hispanic community and made fraud that targeted Hipanics a priority.

“She’s taken positions that enhance consumer rights and has been an outstanding commissioner,” said Bernstein.

Ramirez would replace Chairman Jon Liebowitz, who has been outspoken on the issues of privacy, such as tracking of consumer behavior by websites, and what’s known as “pay for delay,” the practice of brand name pharmaceutical companies paying generic competitors to postpone their entry into the market.

The FTC’s consumer protection bureau was considered aggressive under its recent chief, David Vladek, who prioritized financial fraud and advertising cases, such as the high-profile action against Skechers for its toning claims.

Prior to joining the commission, Ramirez was a partner in the Los Angeles office of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, where she handled varied business litigation, specializing in intellectual property, antitrust and unfair competition.

She also has extensive appellate litigation experience. From 1993 to 1996, Ramirez was an associate at the law firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in Los Angeles and clerked for Judge Alfred T. Goodwin in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Ramirez has been active in a variety of community service roles, including serving as vice president on the board of commissioners for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the nation’s largest municipal utility. Ramirez graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University with a bachelor’s degree in history and received a law degree from Harvard, where she served as an editor of the Harvard Law Review. She was editor of the review in 1990 and 1991, when Obama was its president.

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Jayne O’Donnell and David Jackson write for USA TODAY

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