Leading antitrust adviser Tim Wu to depart White House

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The problem facing the Republican-led Federal Communications Commission, which will vote on net neutrality next month, is whether it can properly justify the drastic swerve in federal policy, according to Tim Wu. Wu, a professor at Columbia Law School, also coined the term “net neutrality.” (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Leading antitrust adviser Tim Wu to depart White House

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A major official who helped lead the White House’s initiative to advocate antitrust policy will depart his position on Jan. 4.

Tim Wu, the special assistant to the president for technology and competition policy, is leaving his post at the White House to return to teaching at Columbia Law School, the Biden administration said on Friday. Wu joined the White House in March 2021.

The decision to leave was personal, Wu told the New York Times. He noted that he had been commuting between Washington and New York regularly, requiring him to spend extended periods away from his children. “There’s a time where the burden on the family is too much. I’ve been feeling the balance has shifted,” Wu said.

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Wu had a primary role in creating Biden’s July 2021 executive order designed to boost competition. He is best known for coining “net neutrality,” the concept that internet service providers should treat all information on the internet the same and not discriminate against websites based on where said info may be going.

The legal adviser’s work will be split into two. Elizabeth Kelly from the White House’s National Economic Council will take over Wu’s work on technology policy, while Hannah Garden-Monheit will take over competition policy.

“In the last two years, the federal government has moved to not only reverse decades of erosion in antitrust enforcement, but to reignite a great American tradition of presidential leadership on competition policy, harkening to the era of Franklin and Teddy Roosevelt,” NEC Director Brian Deese said. “Over the next two years, we will continue to institutionalize bipartisan, pro-competition reforms across agencies to lock in this progress for decades to come.”

Wu was one of three antitrust policy advocates pushing for a more assertive approach to antitrust designed to rein in Big Tech giants such as Amazon and Google. Wu was joined by Federal Trade Commission Chairman Lina Khan and Justice Department antitrust head Jonathan Kanter in holding similar views regarding antitrust.

Wu has been a vocal critic of Big Tech companies for years. Wu served on President Barack Obama’s National Economic Council, the Federal Trade Commission, and the New York attorney general’s office.

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He also argued in his 2018 book, The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the New Gilded Age, that major corporations use their economic influence to create political power and thus harm democracy. This financial influence is why government agencies should consider breaking up said companies.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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