Ex-Obama officials named front-runners for top antitrust job

One of two former Obama administration officials are likely to take on the top antitrust job at the US Department of Justice.

Whoever is chosen for the role will be responsible for tackling Big Tech and other antitrust issues, which has been identified as a key issue for the upcoming Biden administration.

According to a report by Reuters, Renata Hesse is one of the potential frontrunners.

Hesse previously held the role of acting assistant attorney general, worked for the Justice Department several times, and has also held private roles where she advised on matters associated with BigTech companies like Amazon and Google, including on the former’s $13 billion purchase of Whole Foods.

However, Reuters said her role might cause a conflict of interest because of the Department of Justice’s case against Google.

Last year the department sued Google for dominating search and advertising.

The news organisation identified Juan Arteaga as another potential candidate in the lead for the role.

He worked for the Justice Department under Obama’s administration for four years.
Reuters said that BigTech and Google critic Jonathan Kanter, who co-chaired the antitrust department at law firm Paul Weiss, is also in the running.

Reuters reported that the Biden transition’s agency review team for the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice held a meeting with outside progressive and moderate groups to discuss antitrust policy priorities, according to three separate sources.
It said that the broad priorities discussed on the call included having more “aggressive” antitrust enforcers.

A Reuters source said that other topics discussed during the session included “reversing merger guidelines, retrospective scrutiny of mergers, revamping antiquated competition laws and offering more funds for federal enforcement agencies such as the FTC.”

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