Two US politicians have leaned on the Federal Trade Commission to stop investigating allegations that Google violated antitrust law.
The pair of Californian Democrats in the House of Representatives, who named Google as a major campaign contributor, told the FTC to stop accusing the company of “unfair” acts if it believes it broke antitrust law.
Anna Eshoo, on the Energy and Commerce Committee, and Zoe Lofgren who is on the House’s Judiciary Committee, claimed that the FTC planned to use the unfair standard to avoid proving some elements required in an antitrust claim. The evidence for this claim came from “unspecified reports”.
They claimed they were worried that if the FTC started arresting Google it could lead to “over-broad authority” for the FTC that could create legal uncertainties for firms and stifle economic growth.
After all, knowing that small businesses can be shut down by a huge multinational steering advertising away from them, and then being protected by paid sock puppets in government, is really good for business.
The FTC is looking into a long list of complaints brought by rivals of Google, which is also accused of using its dominance to squash competitors in vertical search areas such as shopping and travel.
The FTC’s staff gave the commission a report urging them to file a complaint against Google for suing competitors based on standard essential patents and asking for injunctions to stop the sales of their products. Standard essential patents are supposed to be broadly licensed at a fair rate.
Google gave Eshoo $13,000 during the 2012 election campaign and $14,500 to Lofgren, Reuters points out.