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Hey, Isn’t That … Jon Leibowitz?

Jose Luis Magana/AP file photo

Spotted looking on as a private citizen at a Wednesday Senate confirmation hearing was former Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz, who stepped down in February.

Leibowitz was at the Senate Dirksen building to watch his former colleague, Howard Shelanski, get grilled about his agenda should he become President Obama’s regulatory chief. Leibowitz agreed to speak to Government Executive about the ongoing debate over whether independent regulatory agencies should be subjected to the same cost-benefit reviews as other agencies currently are.

“The FTC is bipartisan and consensus-driven,” he said, “and it’s to the credit of both the Bush and Obama administrations that they both left us alone.”

Asked about the controversial proposal of Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., to move the FTC out of its historic headquarters at Pennsylvania and Constitutional avenues in Washington to enlarge space for the National Gallery of Art, Leibowitz said, “My understanding is that there wasn’t much support for his proposal.”

No decision yet, the lawyer and veteran congressional adviser added cheerfully, on what new job awaits him.

Charles S. Clark joined Government Executive in the fall of 2009. He has been on staff at The Washington Post, Congressional Quarterly, National Journal, Time-Life Books, Tax Analysts, the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, and the National Center on Education and the Economy. He has written or edited online news, daily news stories, long features, wire copy, magazines, books, and organizational media strategies.

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