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Antitrust

Panel of Antitrust Experts Assembled by AEI Slams House Judiciary Antitrust Report as ‘Political’

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October 30, 2020 — An American Enterprise Institute webinar on Monday criticized the House Judiciary Antitrust Committee’s recent report, calling it politically-motivated and criticizing it for lacking sources and transparency.

“If you believe that there should be a much more politically motivated approach to antitrust, then you’ll agree with the report,” said Daniel Sokol, professor in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.

Sokol called the report a partisan act similar to the Federal Communications Commission’s December 2017 net neutrality reversal. It would be “extremely naïve and short sided to think this is somehow different,” he said.

Comparing the House report to the Federal Trade Commission’s “big data” report issued in 2016, Sokol said that in the FTC’s report all the submissions were cited and there was nuance and synthesis.

“That’s not what we get here,” he said, where “around 375-pages of the House docket focus on news stories and submissions from professors,” without providing any sourcing.

“I was asked by the House Judiciary Committee to submit a paper to the proceeding,” said Thomas Hazlett, professor of economics at Clemson University and former chief economist at the FCC. Yet, according to Hazlett, none of the papers and sources gathered by the Committee were listed in the document. “While reading, I didn’t see any effort to incorporate the diversity of views that the Committee collected in good faith,” said Hazlett.

“The more you don’t have transparency in a report, the more it looks like a political document rather than something that’s weighty,” said Sokol. “Not a single one of the papers was cited. Maybe the staff looked at it, but they should have shown their work.”

Maureen Ohlhausen, chair of global antitrust and competition practice for Baker Botts, critiqued the report for failing to consider consumer interest.

“There is very little discussion of consumer interest, just passing references,” said Ohlhausen, saying the report instead focuses on companies’ anti-competitive practices.

“There is only a single page out of the 375-page analysis that actually mentions platforms may help competition,” said Sokol.

The report condemns the consumer welfare test and urges antitrust law move away from the consumer welfare standard, said Hazlett, yet Democrats “have nothing other than a vague notion that public interest regulation would perform better.”

Former Assistant Editor Jericho Casper graduated from the University of Virginia studying media policy. She grew up in Newport News in an area heavily impacted by the digital divide. She has a passion for universal access and a vendetta against anyone who stands in the way of her getting better broadband. She is now Associate Broadband Researcher at the Institute for Local Self Reliance's Community Broadband Network Initiative.

Antitrust

FTC Divided Over Increasing Agency Jurisdiction at Congressional Hearing

FTC commissioners were split at a Congressional hearing on Wednesday at the prospects of increasing FTC jurisdiction.

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Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Illinois.

October 30, 2020 — An American Enterprise Institute webinar on Monday criticized the House Judiciary Antitrust Committee’s recent report, calling it politically-motivated and criticizing it for lacking sources and transparency.

“If you believe that there should be a much more politically motivated approach to antitrust, then you’ll agree with the report,” said Daniel Sokol, professor in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.

Sokol called the report a partisan act similar to the Federal Communications Commission’s December 2017 net neutrality reversal. It would be “extremely naïve and short sided to think this is somehow different,” he said.

Comparing the House report to the Federal Trade Commission’s “big data” report issued in 2016, Sokol said that in the FTC’s report all the submissions were cited and there was nuance and synthesis.

“That’s not what we get here,” he said, where “around 375-pages of the House docket focus on news stories and submissions from professors,” without providing any sourcing.

“I was asked by the House Judiciary Committee to submit a paper to the proceeding,” said Thomas Hazlett, professor of economics at Clemson University and former chief economist at the FCC. Yet, according to Hazlett, none of the papers and sources gathered by the Committee were listed in the document. “While reading, I didn’t see any effort to incorporate the diversity of views that the Committee collected in good faith,” said Hazlett.

“The more you don’t have transparency in a report, the more it looks like a political document rather than something that’s weighty,” said Sokol. “Not a single one of the papers was cited. Maybe the staff looked at it, but they should have shown their work.”

Maureen Ohlhausen, chair of global antitrust and competition practice for Baker Botts, critiqued the report for failing to consider consumer interest.

“There is very little discussion of consumer interest, just passing references,” said Ohlhausen, saying the report instead focuses on companies’ anti-competitive practices.

“There is only a single page out of the 375-page analysis that actually mentions platforms may help competition,” said Sokol.

The report condemns the consumer welfare test and urges antitrust law move away from the consumer welfare standard, said Hazlett, yet Democrats “have nothing other than a vague notion that public interest regulation would perform better.”

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Antitrust

Explainer: Antitrust Heats Up as Biden Selects Tech Critic Jonathan Kanter for Top Enforcement Spot

In the fourth in a series of explainers, Broadband Breakfast examines the Biden administration’s intent to bash Big Tech.

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Photo of Jonathan Kanter at the Capitol Forum by New America used with permission

October 30, 2020 — An American Enterprise Institute webinar on Monday criticized the House Judiciary Antitrust Committee’s recent report, calling it politically-motivated and criticizing it for lacking sources and transparency.

“If you believe that there should be a much more politically motivated approach to antitrust, then you’ll agree with the report,” said Daniel Sokol, professor in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.

Sokol called the report a partisan act similar to the Federal Communications Commission’s December 2017 net neutrality reversal. It would be “extremely naïve and short sided to think this is somehow different,” he said.

Comparing the House report to the Federal Trade Commission’s “big data” report issued in 2016, Sokol said that in the FTC’s report all the submissions were cited and there was nuance and synthesis.

“That’s not what we get here,” he said, where “around 375-pages of the House docket focus on news stories and submissions from professors,” without providing any sourcing.

“I was asked by the House Judiciary Committee to submit a paper to the proceeding,” said Thomas Hazlett, professor of economics at Clemson University and former chief economist at the FCC. Yet, according to Hazlett, none of the papers and sources gathered by the Committee were listed in the document. “While reading, I didn’t see any effort to incorporate the diversity of views that the Committee collected in good faith,” said Hazlett.

“The more you don’t have transparency in a report, the more it looks like a political document rather than something that’s weighty,” said Sokol. “Not a single one of the papers was cited. Maybe the staff looked at it, but they should have shown their work.”

Maureen Ohlhausen, chair of global antitrust and competition practice for Baker Botts, critiqued the report for failing to consider consumer interest.

“There is very little discussion of consumer interest, just passing references,” said Ohlhausen, saying the report instead focuses on companies’ anti-competitive practices.

“There is only a single page out of the 375-page analysis that actually mentions platforms may help competition,” said Sokol.

The report condemns the consumer welfare test and urges antitrust law move away from the consumer welfare standard, said Hazlett, yet Democrats “have nothing other than a vague notion that public interest regulation would perform better.”

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Antitrust

Federal Trade Commission Expands Antitrust Enforcement By Rescinding Obama-Era Policy

In a party-line vote, the agency rescinded a 2015 statement that limited the scope of antitrust enforcement.

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Photo of FTC Chairwoman Lina Khan.

October 30, 2020 — An American Enterprise Institute webinar on Monday criticized the House Judiciary Antitrust Committee’s recent report, calling it politically-motivated and criticizing it for lacking sources and transparency.

“If you believe that there should be a much more politically motivated approach to antitrust, then you’ll agree with the report,” said Daniel Sokol, professor in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.

Sokol called the report a partisan act similar to the Federal Communications Commission’s December 2017 net neutrality reversal. It would be “extremely naïve and short sided to think this is somehow different,” he said.

Comparing the House report to the Federal Trade Commission’s “big data” report issued in 2016, Sokol said that in the FTC’s report all the submissions were cited and there was nuance and synthesis.

“That’s not what we get here,” he said, where “around 375-pages of the House docket focus on news stories and submissions from professors,” without providing any sourcing.

“I was asked by the House Judiciary Committee to submit a paper to the proceeding,” said Thomas Hazlett, professor of economics at Clemson University and former chief economist at the FCC. Yet, according to Hazlett, none of the papers and sources gathered by the Committee were listed in the document. “While reading, I didn’t see any effort to incorporate the diversity of views that the Committee collected in good faith,” said Hazlett.

“The more you don’t have transparency in a report, the more it looks like a political document rather than something that’s weighty,” said Sokol. “Not a single one of the papers was cited. Maybe the staff looked at it, but they should have shown their work.”

Maureen Ohlhausen, chair of global antitrust and competition practice for Baker Botts, critiqued the report for failing to consider consumer interest.

“There is very little discussion of consumer interest, just passing references,” said Ohlhausen, saying the report instead focuses on companies’ anti-competitive practices.

“There is only a single page out of the 375-page analysis that actually mentions platforms may help competition,” said Sokol.

The report condemns the consumer welfare test and urges antitrust law move away from the consumer welfare standard, said Hazlett, yet Democrats “have nothing other than a vague notion that public interest regulation would perform better.”

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