Open Markets Reacts to Makan Delrahim’s Speech
June 12, 2019
Washington, DC — The Open Markets Institute is encouraged by the recent speech in Israel by Makan Delrahim, Assistant Attorney General (AAG) for Antitrust. On its face, the speech indicates the Justice Department (DOJ) is reconsidering a number of long-held views – on pricing, innovation, quality, and the need to protect early-stage companies. In combination with a previous speech by AAG Delrahim on the dangers of vertical integration, we may even see here the basis for a new approach to antitrust enforcement that will result in big changes throughout the economy, especially in how we treat platform monopolists.
Unfortunately, a number of recent statements and actions by AAG Delrahim and the Antitrust Division of DOJ make it hard to take the speech at face value. This includes the DOJ’s failure to block CVS’s vertical merger with Aetna. It includes the DOJ’s failure to move to block T-Mobile’s take over of Sprint. It includes the DOJ’s interference in the FTC’s recent Qualcomm settlement. It includes DOJ amicus briefs that have made it harder for citizens to bring private antitrust cases. And it includes recent speeches by AAG Delrahim and other senior members of his team that directly contradict the antitrust philosophy he promotes in this recent speech.
Extreme concentration of economic power today poses the greatest threat to American democracy, and America’s system of capitalism, in at least a century. Citizens from across the political spectrum want their government to do something about this danger, now. Congress, individual members of the Senate from both parties, many presidential candidates, and law enforcers from around America are beginning to heed this demand. Sadly, there is no reason to believe this is also true of the Antitrust Division of the DOJ – at least not yet.
There are many actions AAG Delrahim can take today to prove he seriously intends to enforce the law. This should include challenging T-Mobile’s attempt to take over Sprint, challenging Raytheon’s attempt to take over UTC, investigating Amazon’s JEDI cloud contract with the Defense Department, and clear proof the DOJ intends to stop the giant platform monopolists from buying other companies, starting with Google’s proposed take over of Looker. It must also include publishing briefs that make it easier to bring and win cases, at both the federal and state levels.
If it proves that AAG Delrahim is indeed serious, the Open Markets team looks forward to working with him and his team.
Press Contact: Stella Roque at Open Markets Institute, [email protected]