Politico: Antitrust fight against Google hits partisan headwinds

September 4, 2020 Media

The Trump administration’s Justice Department and the attorneys general from almost every state have spent the past year laying the groundwork for an antitrust lawsuit against Google, with a decision on filing the case expected to come this summer.

If a suit isn’t filed before Election Day and Biden wins, the president-elect would be within his rights to ask the Justice Department to not go to court until after his appointees are in place, which would delay that at least six to nine months, one individual said.

Weiser and New York state Attorney General Tish James are among those who are viewed as potential nominees for a Biden Justice Department, which could ultimately take credit for an eventual Google suit.

Biden also has not spelled out his view on tech and antitrust. Some progressive Democrats fear that Biden would rely on the former Obama administration antitrust enforcers who largely declined to take action against Silicon Valley giants like Google, which emerged unscathed in 2013 from a two-year probe by the Federal Trade Commission.

That means some antitrust hawks would rather hand the lawsuit to Biden as a fait accompli.

“You want Biden to have to kill the case, not to have to make the decision to bring the case,” said Matt Stoller, director of research at the American Economic Liberties Project, who supports a Google antitrust suit but isn’t involved in the probe.