March 26, 2001, 10:13 AM — THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION has reportedly tapped Timothy Muris, a Virginia law professor, to head the Federal Trade Commission.
Upon Senate confirmation, Muris will replace President Clinton's FTC Chairman Robert Pitofsky, who on Thursday announced plans to leave his post in June.
Muris has served at the FTC during previous administrations, holding down three different posts. He separately headed up FTC's Bureau of Competition and its Bureau Consumer Protection. He also served as assistant to the director of the Office of Policy, Planning, & Evaluation.
In academic papers, Muris, a professor at George Mason University in Northern Virginia, emerges as potential corporate favorite by coming down on the side of the FTC having to thoroughly prove its case in efforts to establish anti-competitive behavior.
"From recent pronouncements, [FTC] appears to believe that in monopolization cases, government proof of anti-competitive behavior is unnecessary," wrote Muris in a working paper published last year in the Antitrust Law Journal.
"I intend to demonstrate that the FTC's position on this issue is wrong: wrong on the law, wrong on policy, and wrong on the facts," Muris continued in the article.
Muris goes on to say that "Supreme Court pronouncements have confirmed that no matter how bad a firm's conduct is or how injurious to its rivals, there can be no . . . violation without injury to competition."
In his academic papers, Muris mentions the FTC action on the landmark Microsoft case but points to other cases as evidence that the agency has managed to leave "a profound impact upon monopolization law," according to the working paper.
The FTC serves as the government enforcer of antitrust and consumer protection laws. The regulatory agency also stands guard over the marketplace "to enhance the smooth operation" and eliminate "acts or practices that are unfair or deceptive," according to its posted mission.
In addition to posts Muris has held within the FTC, he also has served as deputy counsel to President Reagan's Task Force on Regulatory Relief, among other positions in the Reagan era.