With the Department of Justice signalling its intent to scrutinize the big tech companies, a number of state attorneys general are piling on. John D. McKinnon reports at The Wall Street Journal:
In recent interviews, several state attorneys general and aides said a core group of AGs has been discussing how to address antitrust-related concerns around big tech companies for some months. One official estimated the number of attorneys general who are involved at between 12 and 20.
While the federal government still carries the most clout, “meaningful litigation to check companies over the last 30 years seems to be starting out more and more from the state AGs,” said Jeff Landry, the Louisiana attorney general, in a recent interview. “Now it’s up to the AGs and DOJ and FTC…to solve” the problems.
Amazon declined to comment. Google, Facebook and Apple didn’t immediately comment. Big tech companies generally have said they believe they are operating in highly competitive and dynamic markets.
Several of the attorneys general or their top aides will meet next week with FTC officials at a workshop in Omaha, Neb., on state and federal competition and consumer-protection issues.
Mr. Landry is scheduled to appear on one panel, along with Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson and Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery III.
Aides from Iowa, Utah, Virginia and Washington state also are likely to speak on antitrust issues.
No decisions are likely, although the meeting gives attorneys general the chance to share more viewpoints and possible strategies.
Many of the state AGs who are engaging in the effort are Republicans like Mr. Landry. But some Democrats also have been involved.
“What you’re seeing is more AGs of both parties trying to pursue this issue,” said Jim Hood, the Mississippi attorney general, who is a Democrat, in a recent interview. Antitrust concerns about big tech companies are “up there with the Standard Oil trust during that era, the robber barons in the 1800s—we’re looking at that kind of political power.”
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