FTC Nominees to Undergo Scrutiny for Their Connections to Law Professor


A liberal women’s rights group is asking senators to question two key nominees to the Federal Trade Commission at a confirmation hearing Wednesday about their ties to an influential conservative law professor accused of sexual harassment.

Joshua Wright, himself a former Federal Trade Commission member who became a professor at George Mason University’s law school, is facing accusations of sexual harassment from at least eight women who say he pressured them to have sex with him in order to advance their careers. Wright resigned as a professor late last month and filed a $108 million defamation lawsuit against two of his accusers.

George Mason has long been considered one of the nation’s more conservative law schools and bears the name of Antonin Scalia, the right-wing Supreme Court justice who died in 2016. Its administration faces allegations it failed to properly investigate what Bloomberg News called the “open secret” of Wright’s misconduct because of his influence in conservative and libertarian legal circles, where he has been at the center of a network of scholars and corporate interests working to push back against the revolution in antitrust thinking advanced by FTC Chair Lina Khan and other progressives.

Now UltraViolet, a liberal women’s rights nonprofit, has sent a letter to Senate Commerce Committee chair Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and ranking member Ted Cruz (R-Texas) asking the senators to question the two Republican nominees to the commission ― Utah Solicitor General Melissa Holyoak and Virginia Solicitor General Andrew Ferguson ― about whether Wright played any role in securing their nominations.

The group wants senators to ask whether either Ferguson or Holyoak were in touch with Wright

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