Two officials who served under Obama’s administration have emerged as the front-runners for the top antitrust job at the United States Department of Justice. That is what the incoming administration under President-elect Joe Biden is aiming for.
The news was revealed to Reuters by two sources close to the matter.
One of the two officials is Renata Hesse, who has worked at the Justice Department since 2002 and served recently as the Acting Assistant Attorney General from mid-2016 to January 2017. She has also been in the private sector, advising on matters involving big tech companies like Alphabet and Amazon.
Hesse’s conflict of interest
Most recently, Hesse advised Amazon on its $13+ billion acquisition of Whole Foods, according to her bio on the law firm Sullivan and Cromwell, where she is currently a partner. This presents a conflict of interest since the DOJ is pursuing antitrust cases against big tech companies.
Google is under fire for dominating search and advertising globally.
The other front-runner is Juan Artega, who also worked in the Justice Department under Obama between 2013 and 2017 as the Deputy Assistant Attorney general for Civil Enforcement. The sources providing this information did not wish to be named.
Now, we wait
Artega has also served in the private sector for companies like JP Morgan Chase, and AT&T. Other contenders who could be considered for the job are Jonathan Kanter, former co-chair of the antitrust department at the law firm Paul Weiss, now running his own firm.
Kanter is an outspoken Big Tech and Google critic who is favored by many progressive groups. They all hope that he will be more aggressive in dealing with these companies.
The Biden transition team has not yet made any comments regarding this. Biden’s team has already discussed antitrust policy, but now we have to wait to see what they do.