Background on FTC Chair Majoras and Google/DoubleClick

Federal Trade Commission Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras is set to resign next month, and now that she’s leaving, privacy advocates unhappy with the FTC’s approval of Google’s DoubleClick acquisition want the commission to cough up the Majoras papers, pronto. Center for Digital Democracy’s Jeff Chester is reminding the press of his group’s request that the FTC hand over all documents related to Majoras’ role in the acquisition case (through the Freedom of Information Act). Basically, the law firm where her husband works, Jones Day, has been involved in representing DoubleClick, which on its face, makes her involvement with the FTC decision on the merger seem ethically challenged.

It’s easy to speculate with stuff like this, so I figured I’d reiterate what I reported for ClickZ News in December when this blew up the first time around. Back then, the FTC told me “Jones Day has not appeared before the FTC on this matter.”

More from that story:
DoubleClick affirmed the FTC’s claim. A company spokesperson said in a written statement sent to ClickZ, “Jones Day was not engaged to represent, and has not represented DoubleClick before the Federal Trade Commission or appeared before the Commission on DoubleClick’s behalf.” Indeed, law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett is representing DoubleClick “in all aspects of its proposed acquisition by Google, including with respect to United States antitrust matters,” the DoubleClick statement said.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett’s Web site confirms it has represented the ad management firm and its majority shareholder Hellman & Friedman in conjunction with the Google deal, and also represented Hellman & Friedman in its acquisition of DoubleClick in 2005. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett is also handling the case in Europe.

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