Josh Hawley of Capitol Riot Fame Introduces Bill to Limit Big-Tech Monopolies

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Bill O'Leary/AP/Shutterstock / Bill O'Leary/AP/Shutterstock

United States Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), a frequent critic of Big Tech who gained notoriety for his role in the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riots, got more headlines on Monday for introducing a bill aimed at curtailing mergers and acquisitions that involve huge corporations.

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As Reuters reported on Monday, the bill would ban all M&A activity by any company with a market value greater than $100 billion. That means tech giants like Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook and Alphabet’s Google would effectively be prevented from making deals.

Hawley has positioned himself as a populist who opposes Big Tech and social media companies he claims have gained too much power while also stifling conservative voices. But even lawmakers on the other side of the political aisle back some kind of legislation to rein in large corporations.

An antitrust bill introduced by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) in February contains similar measures. And in the U.S. House, Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) has announced plans to introduce a series of antitrust bills.

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According to a Monday article on Axios, Hawley’s Trust-Busting for the Twenty-First Century Act would do the following:

  • Ban mergers and acquisitions by companies with a market cap over $100 billion.
  • Lower the bar for prosecution under existing federal antitrust laws by replacing the “consumer harm” standard with a more restrictive “protection of competition” standard.
  • Require companies that lose federal antitrust lawsuits to “forfeit all their profits that result from monopolistic conduct.”

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Whether Hawley’s bill has any chance of getting signed into law is another matter. Despite bipartisan support for antitrust legislation, Hawley himself is not held in very high regard by Democrats, progressives and even some Republicans.

As The Washington Post noted earlier this year, Hawley has faced criticism for being the first senator to challenge the 2020 presidential election results — a move that helped feed the fervor that eventually led to the Capitol riots. Hawley was also famously photographed giving a fist pump to protestors before the riots, and he continued to challenge the election results even after the riots.

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.

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