Koch group targets attorneys general with ads defending tech giants

Koch group targets attorneys general with ads defending tech giants
© Getty Images

Americans for Prosperity, the conservative group backed by the Koch family, announced a new ad campaign defending Google and Facebook from antitrust probes launched by state attorneys general in the past week.

The group on Tuesday urged the state officials to exercise restraint in going after the companies, saying in an announcement that “consumers will be worse off if antitrust laws are used to advance a political agenda by threatening or breaking up successful companies.”


“It’s completely appropriate for state attorneys general to launch this investigation, as long as it isn’t used to create a political spectacle,” Americans for Prosperity’s tech policy analyst, Billy Easley, said in a statement. “There are serious consequences to abusing this kind of enforcement that create troubling ripple effects for American workers and families. The AGs involved should not use this investigation as a means to score political points.”

The ads simply say, “Don’t let government abuse antitrust authority” and direct users to a page that prods them to contact their state attorney general.

Fifty attorneys general announced a major investigation into Google’s market dominance on Monday and a smaller group of nine offices launched a similar investigation into Facebook last week.

The probes are a significant escalation in U.S. regulators’ scrutiny of Silicon Valley giants. The Kochs have been using their influence arms to push back on what they see as an effort to “politicize antitrust laws” to go after the companies.

The latest ad campaign will target the attorneys general in Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina, Texas, Colorado, Ohio, Iowa and Nebraska. The ads will run on Facebook over the next two weeks.