On Thursday, Seattle’s ultra-progressive congresswoman Pramila Jayapal is participating in one of those “boost your profile with very serious people” Washington DC events with a big Capitol Hill publication, Axios, on one of her pet topics: Antitrust law.
I’m sure you’ll be shocked to know that like all bigtime lefty policies, Jayapal strongly supports an aggressive expansion of it. This is probably not just because she is sufficiently liberal that she rubs right up next to socialist in her ideology. It is also because if you look closely, Democrats and their allies have been arguing they do have a plan to combat inflation. You’ll never guess what it’s called: Aggressive antitrust enforcement and reform!
But there’s another reason why it benefits Jayapal so much to push antitrust reform: A major proposed antitrust bill that has a fair chance of passing would hammer some competitors of a major source of her campaign contributions—a.k.a., Redmond giant Microsoft. What stereotypical DC politician doesn’t love it when you can’t fuse ideology with pre-election talking points and doing donors’ bidding?
Here’s what’s going on. A bunch of antitrust bills are being pushed by Democrats in Congress. And according to DC experts who are extremely familiar with which tech companies would be hammered and which would not, and who wants certain companies hammered and who does not, Microsoft—once famously the subject of aggressive antitrust enforcement—now “has flipped the script and is helping Oracle direct antitrust enforcement against their new competitors – Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google…Microsoft and Oracle are pressing Congress to change the antitrust laws so they can put permanent roadblocks in front of their competitors.”
One suspects here, looking at the massive fight that occurred over the allocation of the huge $10 billion Pentagon JEDI cloud computing contract, where Oracle and Microsoft both competed (but where Oracle would win by default if Microsoft won because of things like the interoperability agreement between the two companies mentioned here) and where Amazon, in particular, was the main corporate competitor they both wanted to see die in a fire, that Apple and Facebook are not really the main concerns. Oracle hates Google, but what really allies Oracle and Microsoft is the desire to take down Amazon, a huge competitor to both.
And lo, as observed by our same DC expert who is extremely familiar with the tech sector and all the lobbying that different parts of it are doing, “Reps. Cicilline and Buck went so far as to accept Microsoft’s proposed language to ensure the company was not restricted by their antitrust bill… In a recent Senate hearing, Amy Klobuchar had no response when asked if Microsoft would be covered by her antitrust bill.” Let’s be clear, Amazon would absolutely, definitely be covered by this bill. So that’s interesting.
Now, Jayapal is not nearly as involved in this process as Cicilline, Buck or Klobuchar. But she has been the main figure tasked with forcing the mainstream left in Congress to bend to the whims of the far left, as we saw with her antics involving the Build Back Broke bill and the bipartisan infrastructure bill. And, again, she is aggressively for aggressive antitrust overhauls and aggressive antitrust enforcement like what these others are pushing—to Microsoft’s apparent benefit. Among other things, she has prominently been cited as such by the Seattle Times—not exactly unfriendly to Microsoft’s corporate interests itself, and certainly a publication whose favorable treatment Jayapal covets.
This is the part where we take a look at where Jayapal gets her money and feign surprise when we see that her second biggest source of campaign cash is donors employed by Microsoft. Per OpenSecrets.org, which tracks campaign finances, she has in fact received so far $20,945 in contributions from individuals employed by Microsoft. And we’re not even into the final three quarters ahead of a big midterm election!
[featured image: AP]