Mr. Chopra showed his extraordinary reach last fall in the days after he ended his FTC stint, when the FTC’s Ms. Khan announced a new policy designed to deter legally questionable corporate mergers.
The twist: He cast the deciding vote even though he had left the commission. He had read an obscure provision of FTC bylaws that he said allowed his vote to stay valid for weeks after leaving. Republicans decried the use of a “zombie” vote, but the policy stood.
Around that time, Jelena McWilliams, the FDIC’s then-chairwoman, invited Mr. Chopra to that agency’s dining room for a welcome lunch. Appointed by President Donald Trump, she had about two years left on her term. Mr. Chopra brought a bottle of bourbon as a gift, said people familiar with the meeting—and news Ms. McWilliams didn’t expect.