Mar 26, 2021 - Technology

Scoop: Trump allies target Biden picks with Big Tech ties

Russ Vought

Former OMB director Russell Vought at CPAC. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Escalating the GOP's push against Big Tech, Trump allies are targeting Biden nominees who worked for — or even advised — Apple, Amazon, Google or Facebook.

Driving the news: The Center for American Restoration, a think tank formed by Trump-era Office of Management and Budget director Russ Vought, wrote a letter to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Republican senators Friday urging them to reject nominees with Big Tech ties.

The big picture: Powerful factions on both the left and right are uniting around a similar goal: Keep tech influence out of the Biden administration.

  • Trump-aligned Republican groups pushing an anti-tech message are motivated by an argument that Big Tech companies have too much power over conservative speech and that antitrust laws should reel them in.
  • In November, 32 progressive groups wrote to the Biden administration urging a rejection of Big Tech influence, arguing that its business practices are harmful to consumers and the economy.

What they're saying: "We urge you and the Senate Republican conference to reject nominees to key antitrust enforcement positions if those nominees have worked as lawyers, lobbyists, or consultants for Big Tech companies like Apple, Amazon, Google or Facebook," the letter shared with Axios reads.

  • Vought's group, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, aims to keep pressing on cultural issues Trump rallied his base around, like voter fraud and the power of big tech and social media, Axios' Lachlan Markay previously reported.
  • The letter is signed by more than a dozen other conservative groups, including the Conservative Partnership Institute, the Internet Accountability Project and the Media Research Center.

Between the lines: Candidates the Biden administration is vetting for key antitrust enforcement roles at the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice do not generally have direct ties to Big Tech, so the request is more symbolic than anything.

  • Attacking technology companies is a rare area of alignment for the left and right, but has largely been driven by opposite underlying ideologies.
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