President Joe Biden's top antitrust attorney at the Justice Department has reportedly been barred temporarily from working on investigations into alleged monopolistic practices by Google due to his work for the search giant's rivals Microsoft and Yelp.
Jonathan Kanter, a liberal Big Tech critic and a longtime advocate for antitrust action against Google in particular, will not be able to play a role in an ongoing, historic DOJ investigation into the search giant's allegedly monopolistic practices within the online search market, Bloomberg reported.
Google in November petitioned the Justice Department to recuse Kanter for all actions involving the company due to his past work for its rivals, but despite the temporary block on Kanter's involvement in the Google investigations Tuesday, the DOJ has yet to make an official decision on a full recusal.
"The President picked Jonathan Kanter as his top antitrust lawyer precisely because of his deep experience enforcing antitrust law, and it's absurd to suggest that experience somehow disqualifies him from doing his job," Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said in a statement.
"Google's naked attempts to bully law enforcement must be rejected, and the Justice Department should make it clear that no company is above the law," said Warren, who has called for breaking up Big Tech companies like Google since 2019.
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As an antitrust lawyer, Kanter has previously represented companies that have accused Google of unfair and anti-competitive behavior. He has also worked for a firm representing Amazon, Uber, and Mastercard on antitrust issues.
This background provided grounds for tech giants such as Google and Amazon to ask him to recuse himself from antitrust cases involving their companies due to conflicts of interest.
Nevertheless, Kanter, during his time at the Justice Department, is expected to go after monopolies aggressively and stop mergers, particularly within the tech industry.
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The Justice Department's investigation into Google, launched during the Trump administration in October 2020, concerns allegedly anti-competitive business practices, especially how it has used its search dominance in the online advertising arena to defeat its competitors, such as Yelp and Microsoft's search platform Bing.