A handful of companies that have had runs in with Google are doing some behind-the-scenes lobbying with members of the White House in an attempt to play a role in who is chosen to head the Federal Trade Commission.
According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, with the FTC appointment having a major impact on the technology and telecom industries, companies are calling and meeting with Trump administration members to get Utah’s republican attorney general, Sean Reyes, on the radar of Trump. WSJ noted Reyes supports more scrutiny of Google and would not be a welcome appointment by the likes of Google. The other potential candidate for FTC chairman is Maureen Ohlhausen, who had voted to close key aspects of an antirust inquiry into Google. The companies, as a result, favor Reyes over Ohlhausen.
According to WSJ, the companies that are backing Reyes include Oracle, which had a huge legal fight with Google, Yelp, AT&T and News Corp. News Corp. has been an outspoken critic of Google’s position in the search market. Google, for its part, hasn’t been publicly making efforts to sway the Trump administration either way, preferring to keep a low profile, reported the paper. Google had a close relationship with the Obama administration and its parent chairman, Eric Schmidt, worked with the Hillary Clinton campaign, putting it in a dicey situation now that Trump is president. The report noted the supporters of Reyes have been placing calls to people they think will influence the White House and urging them to weigh in with their opinions. Reyes has the support of GOP Senator Orrin Hatch and Democratic attorney general for the District of Columbia Karl Racine. Meanwhile, Yelp is taking a main role in the effort, reported the paper.