First it was Lina Khan; now Elizabeth Warren is defending Justice Department antitrust chief Jonathan Kanter from Big Tech.
In a letter to Sundar Pichai, the progressive senator said Google should stop its efforts to remove Kanter, a longtime company foe, from leading the U.S. competition lawsuit against the company over his prior work.
"Google should focus on complying with antitrust law rather than attempting to rig the system with these unseemly tactics," Warren and Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal wrote.
In November, just as Kanter took office, Google sought a department review of his role, suggesting his "work representing competitors who have advocated for the cases brought by the department raise serious concerns."
Kanter's former clients include Microsoft and Yelp. His allies have have argued that he is not "switching sides" in the Google matter, having opposed the company in his private practice and now doing so in public service. Warren and Jayapal said Google's interpretation of ethics law was faulty and "would neuter federal enforcement activity" by blocking all kinds of staff from using their expertise if, outside of public service, they sought to combat the same practices that the government is trying to stop.
In August, Warren, who is known for using letters to try to affect policy, joined Jayapal and other lawmakers to tell Amazon and Facebook to stop similar attempts at the Federal Trade Commission. Khan, the agency's chair, is another longtime critic of Big Tech who, alongside Kanter, represents a newly aggressive generation of antitrust enforcers.
"These efforts to bully regulators and avoid accountability—which are similar to those of Facebook and Amazon earlier this year—are untethered to federal ethics law and regulations, and we urge you to cease them immediately," Warren and Jayapal wrote in their most recent letter.