- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 8, 2020

House Republicans on Tuesday accused Democrats of blocking the GOP’s presence at an upcoming hearing with the CEOs of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Alphabet, Google’s parent company.

Jim Jordan, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, wrote a letter to Chairman Jerrold Nadler, New York Democrat, saying that the July 27 hearing on antitrust issues was deliberately scheduled before a Democratic subcommittee to limit Republicans’ ability to participate in the hearing.

The Ohio Republican wrote about his concern that the smaller venue would limit congressional oversight.

“Although Republicans look forward to this hearing, we were surprised to learn it would not occur at the full Committee — the venue that makes the most sense given the scope of the Committee’s investigation, the broad interest from Members of both parties who do not serve on the Subcommittee, and the significance of the witnesses who will testify,” Mr. Jordan wrote. “Therefore, on behalf of Republican Members who you propose to exclude from participating in this hearing, I respectfully request that you reconsider this matter and convene the hearing at the full Committee so that all Members may participate fully and equally.”

Mr. Jordan’s listed concerns about partisanship potentially affecting the upcoming hearing’s utility was not limited to which representatives would get the chance to question the tech titans.

Mr. Jordan wrote that Democratic staffers working on the subcommittee chaired by Rep. David Cicilline, Rhode Island Democrat, talked with two companies under examination by the committee without Republicans present, which departs from standard practice and raised suspicions among Republicans.

Representatives for Mr. Nadler and Mr. Cicilline did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The congressional hearing about antitrust issues in Big Tech comes at a time when political animosity toward some of the participating companies is reaching an all-time high on both sides of the aisle. Liberals have called for breaking up large tech companies and criticized the companies alleged unwillingness to shutdown offensive speech, while the populist right has similarly alleged that Big Tech has too much power but is overly aggressive in silencing speech it deems offensive.

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