Texas AG-Led Google Probe Taps Former Microsoft Attorney

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Three consultants — one being an ex-Microsoft lawyer — were hired in a multi-state antitrust investigation of Google being led by the Texas attorney general’s office, Reuters reported on Thursday (Sept. 26). 

The consultants are Roger Alford, Eugene Burrus and Cristina Caffarra. 

Burrus was assistant general counsel at Microsoft Corp and now works as an external advisor at McKinsey & Company. Caffarra worked as an economist for other tech companies and is now with Charles River Associates. Alford is a former assistant AG in the antitrust division of the Department of Justice.

Contracts obtained by Reuters show that Alford and Burrus were hired for the period of May 29 through Aug. 31 and could charge an hourly maximum of $500. Alford said his contract was extended until Aug. 31, 2021. Caffarra’s contract runs from Sept. 3 to Aug. 31, 2021. 

The three were hired following the Sept. 9 announcement that state attorneys general from 48 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico are investigating possible antitrust infractions by Google. Alabama and California are not part of the probe.

“Everyone knows this will be a long-running investigation,” legal consultant Alford told the news outlet. 

The focus of the probe will be on whether Google had abused its position in the online advertising market.

“I can’t remember the last time you had just about everybody get on the train,” William Kovacic, a former Federal Trade Commission (FTC) chairman under President George W. Bush, told Politico at the time of the antitrust investigation announcement. “It provides somewhat of a greater degree of political support and power behind it in terms of resourcing.”

The AG pool on the antitrust investigation is bipartisan in nature, and the panels holding congressional hearings into Google, Facebook and Amazon have been, too.

The investigation is being led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who has said that Google dominates all sides of the online equation, including buyers and sellers “and even the video side with YouTube.”