By: Cristiano Lima of Politico
House Judiciary lawmakers today unleashed a torrent of document requests on Facebook, Apple, Amazon and Google parent company Alphabet aimed at uncovering whether the tech companies have unfairly stifled competitors.
In a series of letters to the companies’ CEOs, Judiciary leaders demanded that the firms disclose all documents related to any foreign and domestic investigations into their conduct and that they release emails by key executives dealing with specific competition concerns.
The far-reaching requests for information, known as RFIs, are the latest escalation of the committee’s wide-ranging antitrust investigation of the tech sector.
“We made it clear when we launched this bipartisan investigation that we plan to get all the facts we need to diagnose the problems in the digital marketplace,” said House Judiciary Antitrust Chairman David Cicilline (D-R.I.), whose panel is leading the probe.
"Today’s document requests are an important milestone in this investigation as we work to obtain the information that our Members need to make this determination," he said.
Committee leaders — including Cicilline, House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), ranking member Doug Collins (R-Ga.) and Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.) — also called on the companies to disclose financial statements for their products, internal organizational charts and lists of firms they have identified as market competitors.
The action comes amid mounting antitrust scrutiny for the tech industry’s most powerful companies. Attorneys general from 50 states and territories on Monday unveiled a bipartisan antitrust investigation of Google’s dominance in search and digital advertising, days after another grouping of state AGs announced a separate investigation into Facebook.
Silicon Valley’s largest companies also face mounting scrutiny at the federal level, with both the Federal Trade Commission and Justice Department probing potential anti-competitive conduct by top firms.