The Guardian: Antitrust: Hawley and Klobuchar on the big tech battles to come

May 2, 2021 Media

Antitrust is hot. In February, the Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar introduced the Competition and Antitrust Law Enforcement Reform Act of 2021. Weeks later, the Missouri senator Josh Hawley proposed the Trust-Busting for the Twenty-First Century Act. Both bills are pending before the Senate judiciary committee.

Hawley and Klobuchar have both published books. Hawley offers The Tyranny of Big Tech, and Klobuchar Antitrust. There is plenty of overlap but the substantive and stylistic differences are glaring.

Hawley takes pride in owning the libs. Klobuchar criticizes the Trump administration’s lack of antitrust enforcement. His book is barbed. Hers methodical.

Klobuchar extends an array of “thank yous”. There is one for Jake Sullivan, her former counsel, now Joe Biden’s national security adviser; another for Matt Stoller, a former staffer to Bernie Sanders on the Senate budget committee and a sometime Guardian contributor; and another for Paul Krugman of the New York Times. All three come with definite viewpoints and are strategically placed.

Increased antitrust enforcement by the DoJ, the FTC and the states appears to be more likely than wholesale legislative change. A government antitrust case against Google proceeds. Furthermore, Biden has already appointed two critics of big tech to key slots at the White House and the FTC. Who will lead DoJ’s antitrust division is an open question. Finding a suitable non-conflicted pick appears difficult.