High Profile Group Says That Biden Should Expand Antitrust Cases

According to a group whose founder is working with the president-elect’s transition team, The Biden administration should expand antitrust cases against Alphabet’s Google and Facebook and encourage breaking up companies. The American Economic Liberties Project, an influential Washington-based anti-monopoly group, issued a report with guidance for antitrust enforcers in the next administration. The report’s recommendations offer a glance into the thinking that could impact future policy making under the Biden administration.

The group prompted that the U.S. Justice Department make clear it will continue antitrust action against Google by expanding the scope of litigation beyond search to maps, travel and its app store.

On Oct. 20 the Justice Department sued Google accusing the company of dominating search and advertising. In December, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sued Facebook saying the company used a “buy or bury” strategy to hurt rivals.

The report calls on the Biden administration to designate aggressive Justice Department and FTC antitrust enforcers and urges Biden’s attorney general nominee, Merrick Garland, to “publicly commit to seeking a Google breakup.” Miller told Reuters, “The anti-monopoly movement is really young…We wanted to lay out a vision that people in a new administration can rally around and can use as a clear work plan for not only what’s possible but what’s necessary.”

The report encourages antitrust agencies to challenge mergers involving a powerful buyer and calls for regulators to stop entering settlements with companies that do not require them to admit wrongdoing. Among other recommendations it wants to do away with non-compete clauses in work arrangements and end conflicts of interest by stopping companies from operating and competing on the same platform. The report urges the FTC to arrange bringing an antitrust case against Amazon for harming competitors.