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Calif. politicians to DOJ: Hands off Google-Yahoo ad deal

Democratic House members ask DOJ not to pursue "unprecedented" lawsuit to block Google and Yahoo advertising agreement.

A group of Democratic congressional members from California have sent a letter to the U.S. Justice Department urging officials not to block the proposed online advertising agreement reached between Google and Yahoo.

In a letter addressed to U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey, the lawmakers point out that the agreement is not exclusive and warned that blocking it with a lawsuit as the DOJ is considering could stifle online ad market growth and innovation.

"We believe that robust competition serves the public interest but if the DOJ blocks this agreement we fear that the threat of additional scrutiny may chill future agreements," the letter says.

"Similar agreements are commonplace in many industries and standard among Internet companies," the letter says. "In fact, Microsoft had a similar agreement with Yahoo and Google has similar arrangements with tens of thousands of companies."

The letter, dated September 26, is signed by 11 people, including Reps. Anna Eshoo, Ellen Tauscher, Zoe Lofgren, and George Miller.

A Google representative said the company had no comment on letter. A Yahoo spokeswoman provided this comment: "We believe strongly that this agreement will strengthen Yahoo's competitive position in online advertising and will help to drive a more robust, higher quality Yahoo marketplace for our advertisers, publishers and users."

Under the deal signed in June, Google will provide Yahoo with ads that will run on Yahoo's search site.

Yahoo has stepped up its efforts to defend the deal with a blog post from President Sue Decker following opposition from a newspaper group and news that European anti-competition officials are investigating the deal.