The US news outlet Politico has quoted an unnamed source as saying that Texas may delay filing a multistate antitrust suit against Google due to “turbulence” in the office of the Lone Star State’s Attorney General (AG) Ken Paxton, who currently faces corruption allegations.
The claims were reportedly made by Paxton’s seven top aides, who accused the AG of violating laws against bribery and improper influence.
They pointed to Paxton’s alleged actions with respect to Austin real estate investor Nate Paul, who donated $25,000 to the AG’s 2018 re-election campaign. The attorney general, for his part, accused “rogue employees” of making unfounded allegations, pledging that he would not step down.
Justice Department Opens Suit Against Google
The alleged upheavals in the Texas AG office come a few days after Paxton announced that his state was joining the Justice Department’s lawsuit against Google over what he described as the Internet giant’s “anticompetitive business strategies”.
Google’s anticompetitive business strategies have disrupted the competitive process, reduced consumer choice, & stifled innovation.— Texas Attorney General (@TXAG) October 20, 2020
Our action today is intended to restore competition & allow rivals & next generation search engines to challenge Google.https://t.co/P1jJ8z0vqC
The AG’s move came hours after UK Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen said that the Justice Department had filed an antitrust civil lawsuit against Google for “unlawfully maintaining a monopoly in general of their services and search advertising in violation of section 2 of the Sherman Act [of 1890 that regulates competition among enterprises]”.
Apart from Texas, joining the lawsuit earlier were Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, and South Carolina.
Google, in turn, rejected the suit as “deeply flawed", adding in a statement via Twitter that “people use Google because they choose to, not because they're forced to or because they can't find alternatives”.
Today’s lawsuit by the Department of Justice is deeply flawed. People use Google because they choose to -- not because they're forced to or because they can't find alternatives. We will have a full statement this morning.— Google Public Policy (@googlepubpolicy) October 20, 2020
US tech giants have repeatedly faced pressure following a wave of scandals related to compromising users' privacy.
President Donald Trump, for his part, has consistently criticised the tech giants, accusing Facebook and Google of being biased against him and conservative politicians in general. He also promised his supporters to hold certain companies accountable for allegedly silencing conservative voices.