US President Joe Biden appointed lawyer and Google critic Jonathan Kanter as cartel chief of the Justice Department on Tuesday.
Progressives advocating tougher antitrust enforcement pushed for the nomination of Kanter, who recently set up his own law firm, Kanter Law Group LLP, which describes itself as an “antitrust boutique.”
The White House called Kanter “a leading lawyer and expert in efforts to promote strong and meaningful antitrust and competition policies.”
He’s spent years representing rivals from Alphabet’s Google, which the Justice Department sued last year for violating antitrust laws in trying to hobble rivals.
The Biden government previously selected two antitrust progressives with technical expertise, Tim Wu for the National Economic Council and Lina Khan as Commissioner for the Federal Trade Commission.
Sarah Miller, executive director of the American Economic Liberties Project, said Kanter “produced many of the most successful legal arguments that drove the great antitrust investigations into big tech.”
Kanter declined to comment on the nomination.
If the Senate confirms so, Kanter, who previously worked for Paul, Weiss, Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP and two other major law firms, will take over the running of the Justice Department’s antitrust division amid calls for tougher enforcement overall, with particular criticism Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple.
Tech giants have been under investigation for about two years, and a US House of Representatives panel released a report in October saying they used “killer acquisitions” to fend off rivals, levy exorbitant fees and “pressurize small businesses “Forcing contracts the name of profit.
The companies have vigorously denied any wrongdoing.
The Justice Department’s Antitrust Division under Kanter will play a key role in implementing Biden’s Executive Order, which aims to encourage competition across the U.S. economy. In addition to the lawsuit against Google, the Justice Department is also investigating Apple.
The Federal Trade Commission shares the task of enforcing antitrust law with the Department of Justice.
© Thomson Reuters 2021