FTC's Pass on Google Opens the Door for the Justice Department

Now will the Department of Justice pick up the case?

FE_130108_ftc.jpg
By + More

[See photos of Google's driverless car.]

Adding insult to injury, the FTC chairman has even discouraged complainants from taking their claims to the Department of Justice. What's he afraid of? Perhaps that the Department will act like a real enforcement agency. Over the last five years, while the FTC was birthing what Commissioner Rosch disparagingly called this "mouse" of a case, the Department has brought no fewer than four antitrust actions against Google.

As the Microsoft case demonstrates, it is not unusual for Justice to have to step in when the FTC cannot get its act together. What is unusual about the FTC's recent treatment of the Google matter is the chairman's effort to prevent the Department of Justice from doing just that despite the fact that a majority of the commissioners wanted to bring a case. The recent Google decision is just more evidence that the current Commission raises more questions than it answers regarding Google and widespread allegations of illegal conduct.

  • Read David Balto: FTC Right to Close Google Investigation
  • Read David Brodwin: Why We Need the Government in the Marketplace
  • Check out U.S. News Weekly: an insider's guide to politics and policy.