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July 29, 2020 | Talking Points Memo
Today’s Congressional Hearing Will Test Big Tech’s Simplest Algorithm: If An Ex-Regulator, Then Hire
The tech companies set to testify before the House today knew for years that a reckoning was in the works. They’ve been building up their defenses, and a key component of that defense is the antitrust enforcement officials who take a trip through the revolving door to the benefit of corporate clients.
July 21, 2020 | Sludge
Kamala Harris' Deep History Of Letting Facebook Off The Hook
One does not often rise through California politics at Harris’ speed without making some concerning friends in Silicon Valley.
July 18, 2020 | Washington Monthly
Better Policy Ideas Alone Won’t Stop Monopolies
Over the last four years, new voices in the Democratic Party have been calling for policies that push back on established power structures. The growing anti-monopoly movement is a major part of this populist uprising—aimed at breaking up the corporate giants that dominate large swaths of the economy.
June 19, 2020 | Washington Monthly
How Biden Can Prove He’s Serious About Busting Corporate Monopolies
At the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, Americans quickly learned just how unprepared the country was for a pandemic. One of the most alarming revelations was that the U.S. had nowhere near the number of ventilators and other life-saving medical equipment it needed to fight the virus. That’s largely because of a surprising culprit: the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
June 04, 2020
Another BigLaw Alum Ascends at the FTC
In late May, the Federal Trade Commission promoted Patty McDermott to Deputy Assistant Director of the Anticompetitive Practices (ACP) division. The ACP division’s work “involves not only stopping illegal conduct but also shaping the law,” making McDermott’s new position one of interest to corporations overseen by the FTC, beyond run-of-the-mill enforcement.
May 28, 2020
The Top Revolving Door Jobs for Ex-FTC Lawyers and Economists
The Revolving Door Project’s investigation shows that corporate gigs continue to be the most popular positions for FTC lawyers to take after leaving their posts, and reveals the regularity with which economists and analysts revolve to economic consulting firms that serve corporate interests.
May 20, 2020 | Talking Points Memo Cafe
We Can’t Let Him Get Away With It: Trump Chose Wall Street Over Main Street
In an advertisement released earlier this month, the Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump PAC, claimed that the Trump administration bailed out big banks via its coronavirus stimulus legislation (the CARES Act), leaving Main Street to suffer the effects of the pandemic. “Trump bailed out Wall Street, not Main Street,” a grim voice-over tells the viewer. President Donald Trump quickly took to Twitter hurling insults at the leaders of the PAC. Soon after, Politifact reported the advertisement’s claim was false, and Facebook subsequently labeled the advertisement “partially false.” But the Lincoln Project’s statement is true by any measure: The Trump administration played a central role in crafting the CARES Act, a piece of legislation that has bailed out Wall Street and not Main Street. The designers of the CARES Act must be held responsible for their actions.
May 14, 2020
Bezos Conveniently Ignores Congress’s Call to the Hot Seat
In late April, Amazon caught heat from members of the House Judiciary Committee for seemingly lying about the company’s use of data on third party vendors selling in Amazon’s marketplace. Contradicting Amazon in-house counsel (and former DOJ Antitrust official) Nate Sutton’s sworn testimony on the subject in July of 2019, the Wall Street Journal broke the story on April 23rd that Amazon is using proprietary information generated for third-party sellers on the platform to develop its house-brand products.
May 12, 2020
A Brief History of the SBA
In the past month, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has gained widespread media attention. This research report reviews the little-known agency’s history.
May 11, 2020
International Antitrust Response to Coronavirus
The Pandemic Anti-Monopoly Act would preemptively stop harmful mergers that not only affect American consumers, but economies all over the world that rely on the same global supply chains. Undoubtedly, companies looking to acquire struggling businesses during the pandemic will try to take advantage of the “failing firm” argument to justify acquisitions. But what actions have lawmakers and antitrust enforcement officials in other countries undertaken to prevent predatory mergers while businesses struggle?
May 07, 2020
Why is Congress Ignoring EIDLs?
Over the past several weeks, the SBA has been criticized for its administration and oversight of its Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which offers forgivable loans designed to be spent on payroll expenses. But little attention has been paid to the SBA’s second COVID-response loan effort: the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. EIDLs provide small businesses affected by disasters with emergency loans. Over the past few decades, the SBA has provided EIDLs after major disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and 9/11.
May 06, 2020
RDP Bemoans Big Pharma Merger Facilitated by Revolving Door BigLaw Lawyers
Revolving Door Project Executive Director Jeff Hauser said, “This anti-competitive merger further entrenches Big Pharma at the expense of all Americans. Big Pharma’s playbook here is no less dangerous for having become rote: They hire well-connected revolving door FTC alumni to secure approval for mergers that undermine the public interest. To restore the public interest at the FTC, we will need to end the FTC-to-BigLaw pipeline that has helped bring about an economy that works well for rich investors rather than American consumers or workers.”
May 01, 2020
The SBA's Office of Advocacy: What is it and Why is it Relevant?
The Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy (“Advocacy”) is a little known corner of the executive branch that wields a surprising amount of power, particularly in the regulatory process. This research memo explores the powers Advocacy possesses, how the office gained this power, and the potential Advocacy may have in a progressive administration to be a strong anti-consolidation voice in the regulatory process.
April 29, 2020
Amazon Won’t Play Fair In Commerce Or Congress
Last week, the Wall Street Journal revealed that contrary to stated company policies, Amazon looks at proprietary information generated for third-party sellers on the platform when developing its house-brand offerings. Cases described to the Journal include Amazon engineers peeking at the total sales, profit margins, and shipping costs for a popular third-party car trunk organizer which sells on Amazon Marketplace. Amazon later used that data to help design its own, rival product. Third-party sellers have long believed that Amazon wasn’t looking at this information because…Amazon said it wasn’t looking at this information. Instead, the tech giant’s control of both the Marketplace and its own house brands grants it an anti-competitive advantage over smaller sellers who depend on Amazon’s marketplace to survive. They can’t check all of their competitors’ stats on a whim to figure out how to drive them out of business.
April 14, 2020
Facebook Picks Up Senior FTC Official To Undermine Her Former Employees
The Covid-19 pandemic is creating ripe conditions for corporate acquisition sprees by industry giants. But at least one company, already under the microscope, isn’t just looking to pick off competitors. Facebook has its eyes on the supposed cops on this beat, the antitrust enforcement officials ready to jump ship.