Congress urged to increase DOJ funds to take on tech giants’ power  

Leaders of the House and Senate Appropriations committees are facing pressure to increase funding for the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) antitrust division to aid the agency in bringing cases against the nation’s dominant tech companies, according to a letter sent Thursday.  

More than a dozen advocacy groups underscored the need for increased funding, based on a New York Times report that DOJ sources said an investigation into Apple was delayed for three years in order to prioritize a review of Google because the department “lacked the financial resources and personnel to fully evaluate both companies.”  

“Big Tech’s monopolistic behavior leads to higher prices for consumers, puts their personal information at risk, and locks competitors out of the market. We’re writing to you to strongly urge you to increase funding for the DOJ Antitrust Division in the current appropriations cycle — so it can fully carry out its mission of protecting the public from corporate abuse,” the groups wrote.  

According to the Times report, the DOJ is moving closer to filing an antitrust case against Apple. The Times reported the DOJ has met with Apple multiple times to discuss the investigation, but no final decision has been made about whether a lawsuit will be filed or what it should include.

The DOJ has filed two antitrust cases against Google since 2020.  

“America’s antitrust enforcers shouldn’t have to pick their battles. But without sufficient funding, they do. And to resolve this problem, we depend on you,” the groups wrote.

The letter, signed by groups including The Tech Oversight Project, American Economic Liberties Project and Accountable Tech, touts the passage of the Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act in 2022 to increase funding for the DOJ and Federal Trade Commission. The bill emerged as part of a broader package of legislation to update antitrust laws, but other more aggressive overhauls of antitrust laws to target tech giants failed to pass despite bipartisan support.

Tech giants lobbied heavily against the bills.  

The groups said the heavy lobbying from the companies further underscores the need for Congress to increase the DOJ’s funding.

Spokespeople for Apple and the DOJ did not respond to requests for comment.