In a second article in the same newspaper published on SundaySussman said he hoped that if US lawmakers were to change antitrust laws, they would look beyond the biggest tech giants. Otherwise, he said, Congress could not respond to “monopolies in agriculture, health and telecommunications”.
The release of Sussman’s latest remarks comes amid mounting tensions between Khan’s agency and tech giants like Facebook and Amazon, which have accused her of already ruling on the need for antitrust measures against their companies. Khan participated in a decision in August to file a lawsuit to liquidate Facebook after the FTC’s general counsel dismissed a petition by the company to exclude it from the investigation. Amazon remains the subject of an FTC antitrust investigation related to its conduct and a separate investigation into its proposed merger with MGM Studios.
FTC spokesman Peter Kaplan said the quotes in Sunday’s article were from an April interview Sussman gave The Marker prior to joining the FTC and did not violate a public speaking ban the agency issued to FTC employees in late June imposed. Kaplan did not immediately comment on whether Khan agrees with Sussman’s views on the need for broader antitrust legislation.
Sussman didn’t immediately respond to attempts to reach him for comment on Monday.
Sussman has withdrawn from the FTC’s Amazon investigation because he previously represented an Amazon seller in an antitrust investigation by the House Judiciary Committee into online markets. Khan, a progressive anti-monopoly and former professor at Columbia Law School, served as an advisor on the same investigation into the house.
President Joe Biden’s decision to appoint Khan as chairman of the FTC in June wowed antitrust advocates who want the agency to take a tougher stance on the biggest players in the tech industry. Soon after, she brought Sussman, a former attorney with the New York law firm Pearl Cohen and a fellow of the anti-Amazon group Institute for Local Self-Reliance, as her top antitrust advisor.
While Khan has four advisors on hand to help her make decisions about the FTC’s priorities and cases, she has yet to hire the other three.
In the May article with The Marker, Sussman said he expected Facebook and Google to disband – not because of a preconceived animus at the FTC, but because so many members of Congress are determined to do so.
“I’m not sure they’ll be dissolved in the next few years, but from a legislative perspective, their verdict is written,” Sussman said at the time. “If you’d asked me a year ago, I would have said there’s no chance at all. But if they fail to take it down, the senators and congressmen will see it as a personal failure. “
He added, “Josh Hawley came up with the bill to dissolve Amazon and Google, and he’s an extreme conservative, and he said, ‘All of these companies will be on the slaughter table.'”
The following article, published on Sunday, featured Sussman as one of three Israelis who, alongside Orly Lobel, a professor at the University of San Diego School of Law, and University of Hong Kong economist Roni Michaely, shared the politics of the Help shape the Biden administration. Both lobels Work on non-compete agreements in employment contracts and Michaelys Research on increasing concentration in US industries were quoted in Biden’s most recent Executive Order to Promote Competition.
In that story, Sussman expressed hope that Congress won’t stop after dealing with a handful of the most massive tech companies.
“There is a risk that the focus will be placed on the four digital giants and then the inertia will run out, which would have led to more systemic legislation.” said Sussmann. “Other areas are being forgotten, monopolies in agriculture, health and cellular / telecommunications – which are not affiliated with Apple or Google – are being forgotten. For example, in the US, people pay the highest telephone rates in the world, but people have no problem with that. “