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Letter: Sen. Lee pretends to take on Big Tech, while doing all he can to protect them

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Sen. Mike Lee speaks with delegates attending the Utah Republican Party’s 2021 Organizing Convention at the Maverik Center in West Valley City on Saturday, May 1, 2021.

On May 12, the Senate Commerce Committee voted in favor of Lina Khan’s nomination to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Khan is the author of the influential Yale Law Journal article, Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox, which called for breaking up Amazon, and later served as counsel for the House of Representatives’ antitrust subcommittee, where she published a report accusing Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google of acting as monopolies. Giving her a seat on the FTC, which investigates businesses for antitrust violations, is quite simply a nightmare for Big Tech.

Eight Republicans on the committee voted in favor of her nomination. But Sen. Mike Lee voted against her.

Lee likes to talk the talk when it comes to Big Tech. Earlier this year, he wrote that Big Tech had “divide[d] the nation, undermine[d] fundamental liberties, and distort[ed] the market.” He referred to them as “a corporatist nightmare of censorship and hypocrisy” and claimed that he had “repeatedly warned of the dangers posed by Big Tech.”

But he also argued new antitrust laws were “unnecessary” and “a non-starter.” Instead, our current laws were sufficient: “Our antitrust enforcers [have been] asleep at the wheel,” he complained, but if properly enforced, “our current laws are more than up to the task of policing … anti-competitive conduct.”

Of course, as soon as President Biden nominated someone who was actually eager to enforce those laws, Sen. Lee balked.

It is simply hypocritical for Sen. Lee to pretend to take on Big Tech, while simultaneously doing all he can to protect them from facing any consequences for their monopolistic behavior. Utah voters should remember that, whatever his rhetoric, in a choice between big businesses and everyday people, Lee will always choose business.

Christian Vanderhooft, Draper

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