Press Release

Open Markets Condemns DOJ’s Sham “Investigation” Into Automaker Emission Standards

The following is a statement from Sandeep Vaheesan, Legal Director of Open Markets Institute, on the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) reported investigation into four automakers for negotiating with the state of California on tailpipe emissions standards:

We condemn this attempt to deter carmakers from working with government officials in California to regulate emissions standards, air quality, public health and pollution and ensure a safe, healthy, and habitable planet. Just as outrageous, the DOJ may be aiming to undermine support for antitrust law, at a time when it is especially needed to address America’s monopoly crisis. This investigation is unlikely to have any effect, however, because individuals and businesses have a legal right to petition the government and Congress did not intend for antitrust law to prevent state governments from acting to protect the public.

This is the latest in a series of DOJ actions that threaten the legitimacy of the antitrust laws and suggest the Antitrust Division, led by Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim, is serving as an instrument of the White House. Congress should demand an explanation from both Assistant Attorney General Delrahim and Attorney General Barr and censure them for any misuse of antitrust by them. While it is unlikely DOJ’s current leadership will bring their power to bear against abuses by dominant firms, they should at least refrain from attempting to do harm. Thankfully, the nation’s state attorneys general showed their commitment this week to enforcing our antitrust laws, which are critical to American democracy, and filling the massive gap in antitrust enforcement left by the DOJ and FTC.

Press Contact: Stella Roque at Open Markets Institute, [email protected]