Press Release

Rolling Stone: Monopoly Takes Center Stage in the National Conversation; Open Markets Made It Happen

Rolling Stone’s Andy Kroll has featured the Open Markets Institute in a new story about monopoly power’s rising presence on the political agenda, crediting Open Markets Executive Director Barry Lynn as the intellectual driving force.

The story describes Lynn as “a lonely but powerful voice warning about the perils of the concentration of economic and political power” and tells the Open Markets story, from the team’s ouster from New America after it criticized Google, a key donor, to driving the issue nationally through unique features like America’s Concentration Crisis, to launching initiatives such as the Freedom From Facebook coalition.

Rolling Stone also broke the news that Open Markets’ political arm, Open Markets Action, is hosting a presidential forum on March 30 featuring candidates including Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, and Julian Castro to debate how monopoly power in the agriculture sector and beyond impacts rural communities. The forum “is sponsored by Open Markets Institute Action, HuffPost, the Storm Lake Times and the Iowa Farmers Union. Art Cullen, the Storm Lake Times’ Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, will moderate, with questions from HuffPost journalists.” 

Key excerpts below and the full story here:

After years of neglect, the issues of antitrust and anti-monopoly are undergoing a renaissance. Warren is not the only 2020 contender to weigh in. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), the top Democrat on the Senate antitrust subcommittee, has said America has “a major monopoly problem,” connecting the rise in drug prices and the recent tech privacy scandals to industry consolidation. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is running for president once again on a platform that includes breaking up the nation’s largest banks. […]

Lynn and the rest of the Open Markets team operate out of a cramped WeWork office a few blocks from the White House. (They joke about when the day will come that they’ll have to scrutinize their own building manager.) The organization investigates monopolization and market consolidation in dozens of sectors across the economy, from farming and beer to home improvement stores, baby formula and porn websites. (According to OMI, Luxembourg-based MindGeek controls 70 percent of the U.S. online porn business.) It files friend-of-the-court briefs and complaints with federal regulators, organizes conferences and publishes op-eds and stories at a rapid clip.

The group has been critical of both the Obama and Trump administrations. A recent New York Times op-ed by two OMI staffers slammed the Justice Department’s current head of antitrust, Makan Delrahim, as a “champion” and “friend” of big tech. Lynn and his team have conducted dozens of briefings for members of Congress and Hill staffers on both sides of the aisle. […]

The collapse of Lehman Brothers and the 2008 financial crash showed in the starkest of ways the crisis of too-big-to-fail financial institutions. Lynn says the Tea Party, in its earliest form, and the Occupy protests were in part Americans voicing their anger over an economy controlled by a few mega-companies. “The American people have known for a long time that we have a monopoly problem,” he says. “We just haven’t known what to call it.”

PRESS CONTACT: Stella Roque at Open Markets Institute, [email protected]