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FTC GOP commissioner Joshua Wright resigns

Commissioner Joshua D. Wright, Federal Trade Commission

Joshua Wright, one of two GOP commissioners on the Federal Trade Commission, is leaving the agency Aug. 24 to return to his prior post at George Mason University as professor of law and director of the Global Antitrust Institute at the Law and Economics Center.

Wright has served on the commission since January 2013.

Until President Obama appoints a replacement and the Senate confirms the appointment, the FTC will be operating with four commissioners. Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen will be the lone Republican.

Few details of Wright’s exit were offered by the FTC. Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said working with Wright had been a “privilege.”

Wright, an economist by trade, had been critical of the FTC. He leaves the agency on a high note, having convinced the FTC to adopt its first-ever enforcement guidelines for unfair methods of competition. While the guidelines didn’t go as far as he liked, it was a major accomplishment.

In May, Wright accused the agency of fear mongering the potential harms of data collection and slammed the FTC’s Internet of things report for lacking evidence.

Wright also had to recuse himself from antitrust cases involving Google because of positions he took in a paper he wrote prior to joining the FTC.

“The commission’s accomplishments during my tenure – especially our bipartisan effort to provide guidance on the boundaries and meaning of its section 5 unfair methods of competition authority – have been some of the most fulfilling experiences of my career. I also hope the agency will benefit from my efforts to foster the continued integration of economic analysis into all facets of our competition and consumer protection missions,” Wright said in a statement.

Wright served at the FTC three times prior to becoming commissioner, as an inaugural scholar in residence and in both the bureau of competition and bureau of economics.