January 22, 2021
Big Tech has a huge stake in who Biden ultimately staffs his antitrust and tech regulators. These individuals will decide how aggressively to carry out Biden’s promises of reining in the political and market power of these companies. If Big Tech gets its way, Biden will staff his antitrust teams with its attorneys and allies, who have pushed back against calls to break up these monopolies and protected them against regulation and enforcement. But if Biden wants to keep his campaign promises to take on monopolies, he must shut the revolving door between the federal government and Big Tech. That starts by rejecting for top jobs the following Big Tech allies.
January 16, 2021
The vast majority of Americans believe that the monopoly power of tech companies is a major problem for the economy and a corrupting political influence. Biden should heed these concerns and avoiding appointing Big Tech insiders and allies of monopolies to head crucial antitrust regulatory posts at the Department of Justice.
December 21, 2020
Biden has long marketed himself as the unity candidate who could appeal to large swaths of the American electorate. So his selection of his old friend Tom Vilsack as USDA Secretary, whose only unifying characteristic is the disdain he has received from a broad coalition of advocacy groups, is perplexing to say the least.
December 09, 2020
“We are glad that advocates and authorities across the country have begun to recognize the democratic imperative of ending concentrated economic power. In the case of Big Tech firms like Facebook, Google, and Amazon, the power they wield over the internet, the economy, our government, and broader society has had an incalculable impact.”
November 13, 2020
On Wednesday, The New York Times exposed that a network of seemingly-grassroots campaigns to promote the use of fossil fuels was actually organized by FTI Consulting, a dystopic corporate consulting firm working on behalf of oil and gas behemoths like ExxonMobil. The Times also implicates an FTI subsidiary, Compass Lexecon, in producing academic reports to support these astroturfed campaigns’ talking points. Compass Lexecon employees wrote reports criticizing activist shareholders and university divestment campaigns, tactics often used by the environmental activists FTI was paid to undermine.
August 10, 2020
Congress and the antitrust enforcement agencies have given unprecedented attention to the monopoly issues surrounding Big Tech in recent months. The scrutiny is one step toward rebalancing our increasingly concentrated economy, especially in the time of COVID-19, when small businesses are struggling to survive and corporations are further entrenching their power. But the problem of economic concentration extends far beyond Big Tech. It defines almost every corner of our economy. With the upcoming election and a potential shift in power, Joe Biden has an opportunity to reduce economic consolidation across the board, using executive branch powers including, but not limited to, reforming the antitrust enforcement agencies.
July 31, 2020 | New Republic
Overall, it was a rout in favor of the anti-monopoly movement. So policy-wise, what does it all mean going forward? Almost nothing, unless Joe Biden appoints strong personnel.
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
One does not often rise through California politics at Harris’ speed without making some concerning friends in Silicon Valley.
July 18, 2020 | Washington Monthly
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
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
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 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
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
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.