As the US President-elect Joe Biden prepares to get inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States, he’s been working hard to get his team together and the recent about that includes two former Obama administration officials who have emerged as front-runners for the top anti-trust jobs in the country’s Department of Justice.
A source close to the matter made it known that the President-elect picked Renata Hesse who has served in the Justice Department since 2002 and recently served as the Acting Assistant Attorney General from mid-2016 to Jan. 2017 as well as holding major roles in private sectors such as Amazon and Alphabet.
She’s in fact credited to being significant in the US$13 billion acquisition of the Whole Foods grocery chain by Amazon which is well written on her bio on the website of the New York law firm Sullivan & Cromwell where she is currently a partner.
However, her role could reportedly pose conflict of interest issues as the Justice Department pursues its widely-followed case against Google according to the source. If you remember back in Oct. 2020, the Justice Department sued Google accusing the company of anti-competitive practices.
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The other person is Juan Arteaga who has also worked in the Justice Department under Obama from 2013 to 2017 as well as serving as Deputy Attorney General for Civil Enforcement according to the source close to the matter.
Arteaga also has held private sector roles and advised companies such as JP Morgan Chase & Co and AT&T Inc. But there are in fact other contenders under consideration which includes Jonathan Kanter who has co-chaired the antitrust department at the law firm Paul Weiss as well as now running his own firm.
He is a prominent Big Tech and Google critic. Many progressive groups favor Kanter’s appointment as they push for more aggressive antitrust enforcement.
To be sure, the names reflect the thinking of the Biden transition so far and could change as the vetting process moves forward, the sources said.
The Biden transition team did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
It’s also being 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 in order to talk about the antitrust policy priorities according to other three sources close to the cade.
An among the issues discussed are said to being the call for a much more aggressive antitrust enforcers. “Bring cases even if you’re going to lose,” said one source, describing the way this point was made in the meeting.
They also reportedly discussed reversing merger guidelines, retrospective scrutiny of mergers, revamping antiquated competition laws and finally offering more fund for federal enforcement agencies which includes the FTC.