Groups Ask FTC Chief to Recuse Self in Google Deal

Two privacy groups asked the Federal Trade Commission chairman on Wednesday to recuse herself from considering Google’s purchase of DoubleClick because of her ties to a law firm hired by the smaller firm.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Center for Digital Democracy said DoubleClick has hired the Washington law firm of Jones Day, where FTC Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras was once a partner and where her husband, also an antitrust lawyer, is still a partner.

The FTC is considering the merger of Google and DoubleClick to determine if it violates antitrust standards. Privacy groups have also expressed concern about the deal because of the data the companies store on computer users’ Internet searches.

The two groups formally requested Majoras’ recusal in a filing to the commission on Wednesday.

An FTC spokeswoman said that Jones Day had not argued for the merger before the FTC.

“The chairman is reviewing the petition with the FTC’s chief ethics officer,” she said. “We learned yesterday Jones Day is representing DoubleClick before the European Commission.”

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