Kanter, 47, who left one of the country’s biggest law firms last year to start his own firm, is a long-time foe of
Kanter has “been a leading advocate and expert in the effort to promote strong and meaningful antitrust enforcement and competition policy,” the White House said in a statement.
If confirmed by the Senate, Kanter would take over the antitrust division as it forges ahead with a monopoly lawsuit filed in October against Google and an investigation of
Kanter is the favored candidate of a faction of lawmakers and antitrust experts who say the U.S. economy is plagued by monopoly power across industries, and that enforcers at the
Kanter’s nomination follows Biden’s signing of a sweeping executive order designed to promote competition across industries, including measures such as restricting noncompete agreements for workers and allowing imports of prescription drugs from Canada.
Advocates of more aggressive antitrust enforcement cheered Kanter’s nomination.
Kanter is “absolutely the right person for this job at this moment,” said New York Representative
Washington state Representative
Sarah Miller, head of anti-monopoly group American Economic Liberties Project, said Kanter was behind “successful legal arguments driving the major antitrust investigations into Big Tech.”
If confirmed, Kanter would become one of the top antitrust officials in the U.S., along with FTC Chair
Kanter is closely aligned with Khan as well as
While Kanter was under consideration by Biden, supporters posted photos on social media of coffee mugs emblazoned with “Wu & Khan & Kanter.”
Kanter, who also previously worked as an antitrust lawyer at the FTC, left Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP last year to found Kanter Law Group. During the Obama administration,
Kanter was an early advocate for more aggressive action against tech giants and for rethinking how antitrust enforcers analyze competition in digital markets. In 2016, at an event about
“Antitrust enforcement is barely on life support,” he said. “When was the last time you can remember a major antitrust agency bringing a monopolization case? The reason you can’t remember it is because they haven’t done it.”
At a webinar last year hosted by the American Economic Liberties Project, an anti-monopoly group that advocates for breakups of tech companies, Kanter called a House report that accused tech companies of abusing their market power “transformative” for describing how antitrust enforcement has failed and outlining what to do about it.
“There is something we can fix right now,” he said. “We have laws. Those laws are in place. Let’s enforce them, and let’s enforce them regularly, with vigor, with passion, creativity and meaning. That is something that could change tomorrow.”
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are taking steps to revise existing laws and give enforcers more authority to take on America’s biggest tech companies. In June, the House Judiciary Committee advanced a package of bills that would place significant new constraints on how tech platforms operate, including that they divest businesses in some circumstances.
If confirmed, Kanter would oversee the antitrust division’s monopoly lawsuit against Google. The case, filed last year by the Trump administration, accuses the company of abusing its dominance in internet search by using exclusive distribution agreements with Apple and other companies to shut out competition. The lawsuit is scheduled to go to trial in 2023.
The Google lawsuit is one of two monopoly cases pending against the big tech platforms. The FTC last year sued
(Updates with reaction from Cicilline and Nadler in eighth paragraph. An earlier version of this story corrected the spelling of Sarah Miller’s name)
--With assistance from
To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Sara Forden, Justin Blum
© 2021 Bloomberg L.P. All rights reserved. Used with permission.