Google requested the Justice Division on Friday to analyze whether or not its new high antitrust official, who has represented Google rivals, must step again from inquiries and lawsuits towards the corporate.
In a letter to Justice Division leaders, an outdoor lawyer for Google mentioned the “actuality, and the looks, of partiality are pretty known as into query” by Jonathan Kanter’s previous work for the corporate’s critics. Google pointed to his work with Yelp and the Information Media Alliance, which represents publishers together with The New York Occasions Firm.
“Mr. Kanter’s previous statements and work representing rivals who’ve advocated for the instances introduced by the division elevate severe issues about his means to be neutral,” Peter Schottenfels, a Google spokesman, mentioned in a press release.
Mr. Kanter, who was confirmed by the Senate earlier this week because the assistant legal professional basic for antitrust, has been a longtime behind-the-scenes participant in constructing arguments towards tech giants.
Google’s lawyer mentioned Mr. Kanter had represented Yelp in reference to an antitrust case filed towards Google that was led by a gaggle that included the Justice Division. Google additionally claimed that Mr. Kanter has represented critics in an investigation — led by Texas — into its advert know-how enterprise.
The Justice Division declined to remark. Mr. Kanter didn’t instantly reply to a request for touch upon Friday.
The request is the most recent try by a tech firm to discredit the regulators main antitrust investigations into their practices. Fb has requested for Lina Khan, the chair of the Federal Commerce Fee and a outstanding tech critic, to be recused from the company’s lawsuit towards the corporate. Amazon has additionally requested that Ms. Khan be recused from any antitrust investigation into the company.
Whereas federal officers are purported to keep away from actual or perceived conflicts of curiosity, specialists have mentioned that Mr. Kanter’s scenario could also be totally different as a result of he’s not switching sides within the instances towards Google. As an alternative, he’s going from being a Google opponent on behalf of personal shoppers to arguing related issues on behalf of the federal government.
Google additionally mentioned that Mr. Kanter had made earlier statements essential of Google that confirmed he had “prejudged” whether or not it had violated antitrust legal guidelines. Failing to recuse Mr. Kanter “may also add gasoline to recommendations that the division’s actions may be unduly influenced by Google’s rivals,” mentioned the Google lawyer, Virginia Gibson, from the legislation agency Hogan Lovells.