An antitrust lawyer and former assistant attorney general, William M. Rubenstein, was nominated by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy Monday to head the Department of Consumer Protection.
Rubenstein, who was introduced by Malloy at a press conference, said his goal is to be “vigilant and vigorous at weeding out fraudsters.”
“Those who perpetrate fraud deserve no quarter and will get no quarter on our watch,” Rubenstein, former counsel for the Federal Trade Commission in the early 1980s, said.
He said his goal is to make sure marketplaces are safe, fair, and effective for the consumer, especially during these trying economic times when there are those who may take advantage of consumers.
Another goal of Rubenstein’s is to adapt the department to the 21st Century where e-commerce is prominent and the “use and misuse of personal consumer data is prevalent.”
He said the department has a “rich toolbox” in which to help regulate e-commerce, including litigation, adjudication, and recommendations to the legislature.
“What we are concerned about is the number of charlatans who advertise and conduct their business on the Internet and we want a department that is diligent and thoughtful about setting standards and holding people to those standards,” Malloy said. “If they say it’s free, it really isn’t.”
Rubenstein said consumers tend to trust what happens on the Internet, so part of his job will be educating consumers about potential fraud.
Last Spring Rubenstein was an adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut Law School where he taught Antitrust law.
The press release announcing his nomination also touts the fact that he was part of the legal team that successfully represented the state in its lawsuit against Philip Morris. The tobacco lawsuit resulted in the award of billions of dollars and changed the way tobacco could be advertised and sold in the country.
Rubenstein’s announcement Monday was the first appointment Malloy has made since the eve of his inauguration earlier this month.
He has several more important slots to fill including the Department of Economic and Community Development, Department of Labor, Department of Transportation, Department of Information Technology, Department of Corrections, Department of Insurance, and the list goes on to include at least a handful more.
Malloy has said some position he will take longer to fill since he has decided to conduct a national search for those positions, but some will be coming shortly.
The Executive and Legislative Nominations Committee scheduled two public hearings on Tuesday and Thursday for Malloy’s previous nominations.
Former East Hartford Mayor Melody Currey, who was nominated to head the Department of Motor Vehicles, and Steven Reviczky, who was nominated to head the Agriculture Department, will appear before the committee on Tuesday. Dr. Jewel Mullen, nominee for the Public Health Department, Jeffrey Parker, nominee for transportation commissioner; and former Lt. Gov. Kevin Sullivan, who was nominated to head the Department of Revenue Services, will appear before the committee Thursday.