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Conflict of interest in FTC's DoubleClick hearing?

Privacy groups are trying to get FTC chairwoman Deborah Platt Majoras, a Republican, to recuse herself from consideration of the Google-DoubleClick deal. It seems that DoubleClick has tapped the DC law firm of Jones Day to represent it before the FCC and Majoras' husband is an equity investor in Jones Day, according to a report on Newsfactor.

Privacy groups are trying to get FTC chairwoman Deborah Platt Majoras, a Republican, to recuse herself from consideration of the Google-DoubleClick deal. It seems that DoubleClick has tapped the DC law firm of Jones Day to represent it before the FCC and Majoras' husband is an equity investor in Jones Day, according to a report on Newsfactor.

"I was shocked and disappointed to learn this late in the proceedings that Jones Day was representing DoubleClick in this proceeding," Center for Digital Democracy's Jeff Chester said in a telephone interview. "Chairman Majoras should have made a public announcement and recused herself the moment Jones Day was hired."

According to a News.com report, the FTC claims Jones Day is only appearing before the EU.

"We learned only yesterday that Jones Day is representing DoubleClick before the European Commission, not the (U.S.) Federal Trade Commission," said FTC spokeswoman Claudia Bourne Farrell. "Jones day has not appeared before the FTC on this matter."

A Jones Day webpage seemed to say otherwise, but was then hastily taken down. The site read:

Jones Day is advising DoubleClick Inc., the digital marketing technology provider, on the international and U.S. antitrust and competition law aspects of its planned $3.1 billion acquisition by Google Inc. The proposed acquisition will combine DoubleClick's expertise in ad management technology with Google's Internet search and content platform. The transaction is currently under review by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and European Commission.

That's actually not specific enough to conclude the firm represents DoubleClick in both locations, but the removal is odd. Declan McCullagh blogged. Joe Sims, a partner at Jones Day, said:

The language in the posting apparently was confusing, since EPIC cites it as evidence JD is representing DC at the FTC, and we never have. So we took it down and will rewrite it to eliminate the confusion.
And DoubleClick says: "Jones Day has been engaged primarily with respect to European and other non-U.S. jurisdictions. 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." In other words, Majoras may not have to recuse, which means 3 Repubs and 2 Dems will decide the merger's fate.