Obama nominates new regulatory czar

Thursday - 4/25/2013, 8:35pm EDT

President Barack Obama announced he will nominate Federal Trade Commission official Howard Shelanski to serve as the head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA).

The top spot at OIRA, which is charged with reviewing federal regulations and overseeing the government's privacy and information policies, has been vacant since Cass Sunstein stepped down last August.

Boris Bersheyn, the general counsel of the Office of Management and Budget, has been serving as acting OIRA administrator since Sunstein's departure.

Shelanski now serves as the director of the FTC's Bureau of Economics, a position he has held since May of last year, although he first joined the agency in 2009. He is currently on leave from the Georgetown University Law Center.

He is no stranger to official Washington, having served as the chief economist at the Federal Communications Commission and the Council of Economic Advisers during the Clinton administration.

He clerked for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia — regarded as one of the most conservative justices — and received his doctorate and law degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

If confirmed, Shelanski will oversee an office that has long served as a lighting rod for criticism of the administration's regulatory agenda.

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