Google requested the Justice Department on Friday to analyze whether or not its new high antitrust official, who has represented Google rivals, must step again from inquiries and lawsuits in opposition to the corporate.
In a letter to Justice Department leaders, an outdoor lawyer for Google mentioned the “reality, and the appearance, of partiality are fairly called into question” by Jonathan Kanter’s previous work for the corporate’s critics. Google pointed to his work with Yelp and the News Media Alliance, which represents publishers together with The New York Times Company.
“Mr. Kanter’s past statements and work representing competitors who have advocated for the cases brought by the department raise serious concerns about his ability to be impartial,” Peter Schottenfels, a Google spokesman, mentioned in an announcement.
Mr. Kanter, who was confirmed by the Senate earlier this week because the assistant lawyer basic for antitrust, has been a longtime behind-the-scenes participant in constructing arguments in opposition to tech giants.
Google’s lawyer mentioned Mr. Kanter had represented Yelp in reference to an antitrust case filed in opposition to Google that was led by a bunch that included the Justice Department. Google additionally claimed that Mr. Kanter has represented critics in an investigation — led by Texas — into its advert expertise enterprise.
The Justice Department declined to remark. Mr. Kanter didn’t instantly reply to a request for touch upon Friday.
The request is the newest try by a tech firm to discredit the regulators main antitrust investigations into their practices. Facebook has requested for Lina Khan, the chair of the Federal Trade Commission and a distinguished tech critic, to be recused from the company’s lawsuit in opposition to the corporate. Amazon has additionally requested that Ms. Khan be recused from any antitrust investigation into the corporate.
While federal officers are purported to keep away from actual or perceived conflicts of curiosity, specialists have mentioned that Mr. Kanter’s state of affairs could also be totally different as a result of he’s not switching sides within the circumstances in opposition to Google. Instead, he’s going from being a Google opponent on behalf of personal purchasers to arguing comparable 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 “might also add fuel to suggestions that the department’s actions might be unduly influenced by Google’s competitors,” mentioned the Google lawyer, Virginia Gibson, from the legislation agency Hogan Lovells.