Biden eyes ex-Obama workers to sort out Massive Tech and different antitrust points, Telecom Information, ET Telecom

By Nandita Bose

WASHINGTON: Two former Obama administration officials have emerged as front runners for top antitrust work in the US Department of Justice under the new administration of President-elect Joe Biden, according to two sources knowledgeable about the matter.

One of the recommendations is Renata Hesse, who has held several positions in the Ministry of Justice since 2002 and most recently worked as Deputy Attorney General from mid-2016 to January 2017. She has also worked in the private sector, advising on issues affecting companies such as Inc and Google of Alphabet Inc.

According to her biography on the website of the New York law firm Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, where she is currently a partner, Hesse advised Amazon on the acquisition of the Whole Foods grocery chain valued at over $ 13 billion.

Your role could create a conflict of interest as the Justice Department follows up its widespread case against Google, the sources say. The Justice Department sued Google October 20, accusing the $ 1 trillion company of dominating search and advertising.

The other front runner is Juan Arteaga, who also worked for the Justice Department under President Barack Obama from 2013 to 2017 and served as deputy assistant attorney general for civilian enforcement, according to unsolicited sources.

Arteaga has also worked in the private sector, advising companies such as JP Morgan Chase & Co and AT & T Inc.

Other candidates considered include Jonathan Kanter, who chaired the antitrust division of the law firm Paul Weiss and now runs his own law firm. He is a well-known big tech and Google critic. Many progressive groups are in favor of Kanter’s appointment as they push for more aggressive antitrust enforcement.

However, the names reflect previous thinking of the Biden transition and could change as the review process progresses, the sources said.

The Biden transition team did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Antitrust enforcement has emerged as an issue that the Biden transition team has been paying attention to. For example, a third source said that the transition priority is getting a landing team to work on problems and that Arteaga could be a good solution.

On November 18, the Biden Transitional Authority’s review team for the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice held a meeting with external progressive and moderate groups to discuss antitrust priorities from three different sources.

Among the general priorities discussed in the call were “more aggressive” antitrust authorities.

“Bring cases even if you are going to lose,” said a source, describing how that point was made in the meeting.

Other issues discussed during the meeting included reversing merger guidelines, retrospective merger reviews, revising outdated competition laws, and offering more funding to federal law enforcement agencies like the FTC.

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