John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Damn You, Google Cache!

Ironic, isn’t it, that Google has played a key role in the investigation of the family ties that could prevent Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Deborah Platt Majoras from voting on its proposed merger with DoubleClick.

Yesterday, the Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Center for Digital Democracy filed a petition with the FTC demanding that Majoras recuse herself from voting on the Google-DoubleClick deal because her husband is a equity partner at Jones Day, the law firm representing DoubleClick in the merger. Moreover, Majoras herself was once a partner at Jones Day as well. “A reasonable person with knowledge of the relevant facts would question the chairman’s impartiality in this matter,” the two consumer advocacy groups said in the filing (PDF). “The direct and predictable financial interest is on the spouse of the chairman, whose firm does not simply represent a party before the commission but who himself is directly responsible for the firm’s business development in Washington, D.C.” (In a statement issued by the FTC today, Majoras corrects what she calls “key factual errors” in the petition and lays out her case for fulfulling “the duties entrusted to me when I was appointed and confirmed.”)

Now, the FTC claims that Jones Day is advising DoubleClick only on the European Commission’s review of the merger. “We learned only yesterday that Jones Day is representing DoubleClick before the European Commission, not the (U.S.) Federal Trade Commission,” FTC spokeswoman Claudia Bourne Farrell told News.com. “Jones Day has not appeared before the FTC on this matter.”

But a page on Jones Day’s Web site seemed to say otherwise–at least until it was deleted. But while it may have disappeared from jonesday.com, it did not disappear from Google’s cache.

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 and European Commission.”

Now why would Jones Day pull that page (and beyond that, why would it be so ignorant of the dangers of Google’s cache)? It was “confusing,” the firm says. “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,” Jones Day partner Joe Sims told News.com. “So we took it down and will rewrite it to eliminate the confusion.”

The FTC is currently reviewing the matter with its ethics officer.


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