Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Elizabeth Warren accused of hypocrisy in spat over Justice Department’s Google suit

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Senator Elizabeth Warren accused Google of trying to “intimidate” the Biden administration’s antitrust activist into giving up work with the tech giant – but some DC insiders are unhappy that the Massachusetts Democrat himself has used similar tactics.

The lawsuit was filed by Jonathan Kanter, the head of the Justice Department’s antitrust division, who was appointed by Biden and backed by Warren, who is leading a federal lawsuit against Google, which claims the company has “illegal monopolies” in online search and advertising. ”Claims to have built. .

Shortly after the Senate approved Kanter as head of antitrust in November, Google asked the Justice Department to consider dismissing him from the search giant’s investigation because it worked for competitors such as Microsoft and Yelp before – both Initiated antitrust proceedings against Google. – “raises serious concerns about his ability to be impartial.”

On Wednesday, Warren and another progressive, spokesman Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Stood by the antitrust chief in their letter, accusing Google of “trying to reject Mr. Kanter.”

In a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, the lawmakers wrote, “It is unfair and inappropriate for your company to doubt its impartiality.” “Google should focus on enforcing antitrust laws rather than trying to deceive the system with these unethical tactics.”

But some insiders say Warren’s defense of Canter doesn’t fit his record.

Jonathan Kanter is leading a federal lawsuit against Google, alleging that the company has set up “illegal monopolies” in the online search and advertising industry.

In 2017, Warren Kanter called on Trump-appointed predecessor Makan Delrahim to drop a potential antitrust investigation into the proposed merger of AT&T and Time Warner because of his earlier statements about the deal.

Warren wrote in a letter to Delrahim at the time: “Before entering office, you must have come to a conclusion on the matter and made a public statement.” “Your refusal to deny yourself undermines the public’s confidence in the department’s ability to reach an impartial final decision on the matter.”

As evidence, Warren pointed to a 2016 Acesparks subsidiary in which Delrahim said he did not see the proposed merger of AT&T and Time Warner as a “major antitrust problem”.

Google
Google wants Jonathan Kanter to drop a Justice Department lawsuit against the company.

The Department of Justice rejected Warren’s request to dismiss Delrahim and later failed to block the deal, which closed in 2018.

However, in 2020, Delrahim dropped the agency’s investigation into Google, based on past work done for the company.

Warren’s office and the Department of Justice did not respond to requests for comment.

Pramila Jayapal
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) is the co-author of Warren’s letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

For its part, Google said in a statement to The Post that “Kanter’s past statements and his work representing competitors who have defended cases filed by the department raise serious concerns about his ability to be impartial.”

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