House Judiciary Committee Democrats will hold their first Silicon Valley antitrust investigation hearing on Tuesday, as Democrats try to balance their increasingly anti-tech progressive base against their broad base of tech donors.
The House Judiciary Committee will hold the hearing on Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. EST entitled, “Online Platforms and Market Power, Part 1: The Free and Diverse Press.”
Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), who chairs the Judiciary’s Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law Subcommittee, said he would consider proposing legislation to form antitrust laws before the current congressional term ends in 2020, showcasing a rising bipartisan interest in using antitrust laws against America’s largest technology companies.
“There is no question we will look at very closely whether or not the existing antitrust statutes are sufficient,” Cicilline said last week.
The hearing will reportedly feature three witnesses, including:
- Gene Kimmelman, president of the consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge.
- David Chavern, CEO of News Media Alliance.
- Sally Hubbard, a director at the pro-antitrust Open Market Institute.
Cicilline said that there has been a greater interest in antitrust given rising concerns over privacy violations from big tech.
“There’s been tremendous concentration in these digital market places that are resulting in anti-competitive behavior, serious breaches of privacy, consumers not having control of their own data,” Cicilline told reporters Monday when the inquiry was announced. “This is the first time there’s been an investigation of this magnitude in decades, and frankly, it’s long overdue.”
Democrats have increasingly tried to strike a balance between satisfying Democrats’ increasingly anti-tech base and their donors, many of them large tech companies.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said recently that the tech “era of self-regulation is over,” even though she has received nearly $43,000 in total donations during the 2018 midterm cycle from employees and political action committees (PACs) of the Big Tech companies, each of which ranks among her top sources of campaign cash. Pelosi has typically served as a champion of Big Tech companies.
Further, the New York Times reported that Pelosi will collect money for vulnerable 2020 House Democrats later in June from a San Francisco, California, law firm that has represented tech companies. The fundraiser will reportedly ask for as much as $19,600 to help her seven California Democrat representatives.
Later on the same day, Pelosi’s political action committee (PAC) will hold an event at the home of John Thompson, the current chairman of Microsoft and former chief CEO of Symantec. The price to chair the luncheon will cost $50,000.
Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.