Thursday, January 22, 2009

Administration Taps Former FTC Commissioner Varney as New Antitrust Chief

This posting was written by John W. Arden.

Christine Varney, a Washington lawyer and FTC Commissioner during the Clinton Administration, has been named as Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Antitrust Division, according to an announcement issued this afternoon.

Varney was one of four Justice Department appointees announced by President Barack Obama on January 22. The other appointees are David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security; Tony West, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Division; and Lanny Breuer, Assistant Attorney General for Criminal.

"I am grateful to have these distinguished individuals joining my administration, and I have the greatest confidence that their service will meet the highest standards of this department," President Obama said.

Varney has extensive antitrust and trade regulation experience, both in government and private practice. She served as FTC Commissioner from 1994 to 1997. At the FTC, she was a leading official on a wide variety of Internet issues and pioneered the application of innovation market theory analysis to transactions in both electronic high technology and biotechnology. She led the government's effort to examine privacy issues in the information age, resulting in congressional and agency hearings, proposed industry standards, and increased government enforcement of laws protecting privacy.

Most recently, Varney was a partner in the Washington office of Hogan & Hartson, heading up the firm’s Internet Practice Group, as well as practicing in the privacy and antitrust, competition, and consumer protection areas.

A graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center, she has served as Chief Counsel to the Clinton/Gore Campaign, General Counsel to the 1992 Presidential Inaugural Committee, and General Counsel to the Democratic National Committee from 1989 to 1992. A supporter of Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, Varney recently served as personnel counsel on President Obama’s transition team.

Varney’s nomination will have to be confirmed by the Senate.

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