The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the nomination of William Baer for Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division. His nomination will now proceed to the full Senate.
The committee voted 12-5 to advance the nomination of Baer, who is currently the head of Arnold & Porter LLP’s antitrust practice. Two Republicans, Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, crossed party lines to support the nominee. Another Republican, Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, abstained.
Last week, there were questions surrounding whether the committee would go into an unusual closed session to discuss the nominee. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), the committee’s ranking member, said during the weekly business meeting that something had arisen that might prompt a closed session. The Iowa Republican did not disclose what the issue may have been, but a spokesperson said it originated in the committee’s standard background investigation.
The committee went into a closed session for about 15 minutes before it took the roll call vote.
Baer now faces a full Senate vote as time winds down in President Barack Obama’s term. The antitrust expert has previously served as the director for the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Competition and as a trial attorney in the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. He is a graduate of Lawrence University and Stanford Law School.
Correction: This article previously incorrectly stated the committee did not go into closed session. It went into closed session for about 15 minutes before the roll call vote on Baer’s nomination.