Herring calls on Congress to support federal funds for state antitrust enforcement
A bipartisan coalition of 45 attorneys general is urging congressional leadership to provide the funding to support state antitrust enforcement efforts.
“States and state attorneys general play a crucial role in antitrust enforcement and reviewing mergers both at home and around the country,” Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said. “State antitrust efforts are so important in preventing monopolies and promoting competition that benefits all Virginians. If Congresses passes this federal funding, it will give Virginia even more tools to enforce antitrust protections.”
Herring and his colleagues around the country are leading cutting edge, resource-intensive antitrust cases against powerful and sophisticated Big Tech firms. Late last year, Herring joined a bipartisan coalition of 48 attorneys general in a lawsuit against Facebook for anticompetitive conduct, as well as a bipartisan coalition of 38 attorneys general in suing Google on antitrust grounds.
Additionally, in 2019, Herring joined a coalition of attorneys general in filing an antitrust lawsuit to stop the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint.
These are just some of the 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 protect consumers and the competitive process.
As the group notes in its letter 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 antitrust enforcement agencies, but funding for state agencies will enhance the states’ ability to fulfill their obligations as integral partners to the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission and as part of Congress’ plan for protecting competition.