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Biden Taps Pakistani American Antitrust Expert Lina Khan for the Federal Trade Commission

Biden Taps Pakistani American Antitrust Expert Lina Khan for the Federal Trade Commission

Staff Writer
  • The 32-year-old who teaches at Columbia Law School is also reportedly being considered for a vacancy being created by the departure of the outgoing Republican chairman Joe Simons.

President Joe Biden is tapping antitrust expert Lina Khan for a seat on the Federal Trade Commission, according to news reports. The 32-year-old is an associate professor of law at Columbia Law School, where she teaches and writes on antitrust law, infrastructure industries law, and the antimonopoly tradition. Prior to joining Columbia, Khan served as counsel to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law, where she led the congressional investigation into digital markets and the publication of its final report.

Politico, which first broke the story on March 9, says Khan’s appointment, along with the recent hiring of Tim Wu as an economic adviser inside the White House, “signals that Biden is poised to pursue an aggressive regulatory agenda when it comes to Amazon, Google, Facebook and other tech giants.” The report adds: “The addition of Khan and Wu represents a massive shift in philosophy away from the era of Barack Obama who proudly forged an alliance between the Democratic Party and Big Tech.”

Khan is reportedly being considered for a vacancy being created by the departure of the outgoing Republican chairman, Joe Simons. “As one of five members of the FTC, Khan would be in a position to influence policies, make rules, and enforcement actions at an agency with authority to administer antitrust and consumer-protection laws,” the Wall Street Journal reports. The White House hasn’t announced its choice for the permanent chair of the FTC or for assistant attorney general overseeing the Department of Justice’s antitrust division.

For the past four years, the FTC was led by Ajit Pai, who resigned in January. Pai’s tenure at the nation’s top telecoms agency was both controversial and consequential, with the ending of net neutrality and telecom deregulation. 

Khan previously served as a legal advisor in the office of Commissioner Rohit Chopra at the Federal Trade Commission and as legal director at the Open Markets Institute. Chopra, Biden’s nominee to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. 

Khan’s academic work “examines the limits of the current paradigm in antitrust law, assessing how its welfare-based framework fails to capture empirical realities and betrays the republican origins of antitrust,” as per her website

Several of her projects “have focused on how dominant digital-era firms freshly reveal these shortcomings and demand an approach to anti monopoly that is animated by questions of power, distribution, and democracy.” Her work has been published by the Columbia Law Review, Harvard Law Review, The University of Chicago Law Review, and The Yale Law Journal.

During law school, Khan litigated on behalf of homeowners through Yale’s Mortgage Foreclosure Litigation Clinic and spent summers at law firms Gupta Wessler and Cohen Milstein, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Khan is a graduate of Williams College and Yale Law School, where was awarded the Reinhardt Fellowship for public interest law. She was among several South Asian Americans named in Time Next 100, highlighting emerging leaders who are shaping the future.

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Khan was born in London and moved to the U.S. with her family at age 11. A Williams College graduate, she earned a JD from Yale University, where she served as submissions editor of the Yale Journal on Regulation. Before joining Yale, she worked at the New America Foundation, where she did anti-monopoly research and wrote for the Open Markets Program.

Faisal Amin who was appointed Deputy Director of Management and Administration and the Office of Administration at the White House.

Earlier on March 9, Biden appointed Faisal Amin as Deputy Director of Management and Administration and the Office of Administration at the White House. Amin was most recently on the Vetting Operations team and on the Executive Office of the President Management and Administration Agency Review Team on the Biden-Harris Transition. 

Prior to the transition, Amin served as an Assistant General Counsel for Appropriations Law at the United States Government Accountability Office. Amin served in several roles during the Obama-Biden Administration, including as director of Administration and Associate Counsel for Fiscal Law in the Office of the Vice President, as Chief Financial Officer of the Executive Office of the President, and as Deputy Chief of Staff in the Office of the Vice President. Originally from California, he earned his undergraduate degree at the University of California, Berkeley, and his law degree at the University of Arizona. He lives in Maryland with his wife and two sons.

Last week, Biden named Maju Varghese as his Deputy Assistant and Director of the White House Military Office. Varghese was executive director of the 59th Presidential Inauguration Committee. He successfully directed the inauguration through the coronavirus pandemic and the threat of attacks after the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. The events included the swearing-in ceremony and a star-studded “Celebrate America” concert with high-profile celebrities and hosted by actor Tom Hanks.

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