May 13, 2021
LANSING - Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel joined a bipartisan coalition of 45 attorneys general in sending a letter to congressional leaders requesting the federal government to provide the necessary funding to support state antitrust enforcement efforts.
"The investigation and enforcement of alleged antitrust conduct is more complex and resource-intensive than ever before," Nessel said. "States require more funding sources to ensure long-term capabilities to enforce state and federal antitrust laws that protect consumers and businesses. I urge Congress to support our efforts."
State attorneys general around the country are currently leading cutting edge, resource-intensive antitrust cases against powerful and sophisticated Big Tech firms. Late last year, Attorney General Nessel joined a bipartisan coalition of 48 attorneys general in a lawsuit against Facebook for anticompetitive conduct, as well as a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general in suing Google on antitrust grounds. In addition, in 2019, Nessel joined a coalition of attorneys general in filing an antitrust lawsuit to stop the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint.
These are just some examples of the many types of enforcement actions states have and can bring to challenge anticompetitive conduct by major players with vast resources in a variety of industries. Often working closely with federal partners, states bring these enforcement actions in the public interest to ensure competitive markets and protect consumers.
As the coalition notes in their letter, sent Monday, to the chairs and ranking members of the respective Senate and House committees, as the nation's economy has grown, so too has the need to staff and finance a greater number of antitrust enforcement actions that are fundamentally more complex and resource-intensive than in the past. There is a growing bipartisan consensus that antitrust is at a turning point, and Congress currently is considering a number of bills that would enable more robust enforcement.
Whether antitrust investigations and litigation are pursued together with federal partners or in multistate coalitions, they require massive commitments by lawyers and experts, as well as significant technological resources. Congress is already considering additional funding for the federal agencies, but funding for state agencies will enhance the states' ability to fulfill their obligations as integral enforcers, whether acting independently or as partners to the U.S. Department of Justice or the Federal Trade Commission.
Joining Attorney General Nessel in sending this letter are the attorneys general of Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, the District of Columbia, and the territories of Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Puerto Rico in sending today's letter to Congress.