The Democrats’ “Better Deal,” announced last week, makes competition a national priority. It follows an Executive Order issued in the twilight of the Obama administration that responded to warnings that competition is in decline. While such initiatives at the highest levels of government are new, concern that competition may be struggling in the U.S. is not. Competition and consumer advocates have long encouraged antitrust enforcers and courts to take a firmer hand in enforcing the antitrust laws. They have pushed back against decades of lax enforcement that put too much stock in claims that cost savings and vague consumer benefits could justify anticompetitive mergers and behavior that entrenched the market power of large firms.
With the announcement of the "Better Deal," the Democrats in Congress made competition policy a national priority. In recent work, the AAI has articulated concrete, actionable steps to effectively promote competition in the U.S. economy. In September of 2016, the AAI issued its National Competition Policy Statement, which provides detailed priorities for an antitrust enforcement agenda moving forward. It proposes a variety of enforcement and policy responses to the problems of growing concentration, increasing inequality, and decreasing rates of start-ups that antitrust scholars, enforcers, and policymakers have identified over the last several years. The AAI also highlights the many tools in the current antitrust “toolkit” for how enforcement can tackle inequality. In a recent op-ed, AAI President Diana Moss outlines what antitrust has done and should do to help workers.
Today the American Antitrust Institute (AAI), Food & Water Watch (FWW), and National Farmers Union (NFU) sent a joint letter to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) on the proposed merger between agricultural input giants Bayer AG and Monsanto Co. The three groups offered their in-depth analysis of how the proposed deal would likely harm competition, farmers, and consumers. The letter notes that the merger would complete a sweeping restructuring of the agricultural biotechnology industry, creating the “Big 3” companies where just two years ago, there were six major rivals.
Today, the Chairman of the American Antitrust Institute (AAI) Board of Directors, Pamela Gilbert, announced the addition of W. Joseph Bruckner to the Board. “Joe’s decades of leadership in the antitrust bar and his thoughtful and collaborative approach to decision-making will be tremendous assets to AAI,” said Gilbert. “We are thrilled to have him join our Board.”
The Georgetown University Center for Business and Public Policy and Compass Lexecon co-hosted a conference on airline competition on July 17, 2017. Among the issues discussed was antitrust immunity for members of the international airline alliances. Moss’s comments drew on previous empirical work on the costs and benefits of immunity.
On June 21, 2017, the American Antitrust Institute hosted its 18th Annual Conference.
On June 29, 2017, AAI Associate General Counsel Randy Stutz testified at an oversight hearing of the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law. The hearing, entitled “Recent Trends in International Enforcement,” focused on a recently published report issued by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Stutz’s prepared testimony on behalf of the AAI is available here.
Harvard Law School’s Einer Elhauge was presented the Jerry S. Cohen Award for Antitrust Scholarship by Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll's Dan Small at the American Antitrust Institute's Annual Conference on June 21. The Cohen Award was created through a trust established in honor of the late Jerry S. Cohen, an outstanding trial lawyer and antitrust writer. It is administered by the law firm he founded, Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll.
The American Antitrust Institute (AAI) presented William J. Baer with the 2017 Alfred E. Kahn Award for Antitrust Achievement during the luncheon program at AAI’s 18th Annual Conference on June 21. Baer recently served as Acting Associate Attorney General and was Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ). Baer was introduced by Renata B. Hesse, former Acting Assistant Attorney General at the Antitrust Division and partner at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP.
On Tuesday, November 7, 2017, the American Antitrust Institute will host its 11th Annual Private Antitrust Enforcement Conference at the National Press Club in Washington D.C.