Senator blasts leaks in FTC's Google investigation

Democrat Ron Wyden says it's "wrong" for Federal Trade Commission officials to disclose confidential information about antitrust probes.

"I'm determined to get to the bottom of this," Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, says at CES.
"I'm determined to get to the bottom of this," Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, says at CES. Declan McCullagh/CNET

LAS VEGAS -- A U.S. senator today blasted leaks from the Federal Trade Commission during its antitrust pursuit of Google, saying he intends to find out who was responsible for the disclosures.

"I'm determined to get to the bottom of this," Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat with a the FTC said it had finished its investigation -- which had been encouraged by Microsoft and other rivals -- into possible unlawful activities by Google and had decided against filing a lawsuit.

"All parties deserve to know that there's not that kind of leaking that took place, Wyden said.

A series of leaks -- reported by Reuters, Politico, Bloomberg, and others -- provided glimpses of the commission's internal deliberations during a process that federal law requires to be confidential.

Earlier this week, Rep. Darrell Issa, a California Republican and chairman of the House oversight committee, also raised questions about the propriety of repeated leaks. In a letter to the FTC's inspector general, Issa said "leaks are prohibited by law" and asked for an investigation.

Wyden said the FTC's decision not to litigate against Google was the correct one. "We don't see that there are any barriers to entry in the search business," he said.

Gary Shapiro, head of the Consumer Electronics Association (which organizes CES), added that regulators "make their careers off novel theories" of legal violations, which is "unfortunate for America's best companies."

 

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