Conservative activists push for Rep. Ken Buck to take over top GOP antitrust slot in House

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Big Tech’s conservative critics want a leading ally installed atop a key antitrust panel in the House to lead the charge against tech companies’ business models and methods.

A coalition of conservative activists wrote Tuesday to Rep. Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican, to request that he appoint Rep. Ken Buck, Colorado Republican, as the next ranking Republican on the judiciary committee’s antitrust subcommittee.

Among the 25 activists leading the charge are Matt Schlapp, American Conservative Union chair; Penny Nance, Concerned Women for America CEO; Charlie Kirk, Turning Point USA president; L. Brent Bozell III, ForAmerica chair; and Mike Davis, founder of the Internet Accountability Project.

“As you know, Rep. Buck is a bastion for conservative values in Congress who has fought for the preservation of the free market and the restoration of competition in the American economy,” the activists wrote to Mr. Jordan. “He has also shown his dedication to standing up against Big Tech’s censorship of conservative viewpoints, which threatens the freedoms of speech and expression for all Americans.”

Mr. Jordan’s office did not respond to a request for comment on the conservative activists’ request. The leading GOP member of the House antitrust panel in 2020 is Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, who is set to retire in January 2021.

The antitrust panel’s Democratic majority published a 450-page report in October calling for an overhaul of antitrust law, new antitrust enforcement aiming at Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google, and presumptively blocking mergers and acquisitions by Big Tech.

Mr. Buck did not support the Democratic majority report’s policy solutions and countered with his own “Third Way” plan. Mr. Buck’s plan agreed with the Democrats’ findings but said several components of the policy prescriptions — such as eliminating arbitration clauses — were “non-starters for conservatives.”

While the antitrust panel’s Democratic chair, Rep. David Cicilline, favors a robust antitrust revival, Mr. Buck has said he prefers a more targeted approach. Mr. Buck has expressed a desire to finding common ground with Mr. Cicilline, however, which would mean his selection to lead the Republicans on the antitrust panel could yield a serious effort to channel the antitrust fervor about Big Tech into new legislation.

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