- The Washington Times
Friday, September 13, 2019

Leaders of the House Judiciary Committee on Friday requested a trove of documents from Facebook, Apple, Amazon and Google parent company Alphabet as part of its antitrust investigation.

The request sent by both Democrats and Republicans on the committee demands numerous documents, including executive’s private emails about merger targets. Lawmakers have also requested companies’ financial information and records from any previous government investigation into their competition practices.

A bipartisan group of committee members made the request, including Chairman Jerrold Nadler, New York Democrat, and its ranking Republican, Doug Collins, Georgia.

“This information is key in helping determine whether anticompetitive behavior is occurring, whether our antitrust enforcement agencies should investigate specific issues and whether or not our antitrust laws need improvement to better promote competition in the digital markets,” Mr. Collins said in a statement.

Mr. Nadler said the documents will provide the committee with a better understanding of whether tech companies are using their market power “in ways that have harmed consumers and competition.”

A Google spokeswoman referred to a blog post authored earlier this week by Kent Walker, the company’s senior vice president of global affairs. Mr. Walker vowed Google would cooperate with all investigations into its practices.

“Governments should have oversight to ensure that all successful companies, including ours, are complying with the law,” he said.

“We have always worked constructively with regulators and will continue to do so,” Mr. Walker continued.

The request comes as the committee ramps up its scrutiny of tech giants. Attorneys general from 50 states on Monday unveiled their own bipartisan antitrust probes into Google and Facebook. That investigation will focus on whether “dominant firms are engaging in anti-competitive conduct online.”

Federal regulators have also increased its scrutiny with both the Federal Trade Commission and Justice Department launching investigations into the firms’ conduct.

A group of tech executives testified before a House Judiciary subcommittee in July, but the subcommittee’s chair, Rep. David Cicilline, said they still need more information.

“Today’s document requests are an important milestone in this investigation as we work to obtain the information that our members need to make this determination,” the Rhode Island Democrat said.

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