UNITED STATES – FEBRUARY 28: Rep. Lou Correa, D-Calif., walks down the Home steps after the final votes of the week on Friday, Feb. 28, 2020.
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The chief of employees to the brand new high Democrat on the Home Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust lobbied on behalf of Amazon and Apple as not too long ago as 2022, together with on the very points the rating member will oversee in his new position, CNBC discovered based mostly on public disclosures.
The background of California Democrat Lou Correa’s high staffer is prone to additional upset progressives who supported efforts to reform the principles of the highway round digital competitors. René Muñoz has served as chief of employees to Correa since November 2022, in line with Congress-tracking website LegiStorm.
Earlier than that, Muñoz labored on the lobbying agency Federal Avenue Methods starting in Could 2020, in line with LinkedIn, the place his purchasers included Amazon and Apple, together with different firms. Earlier, he labored for different Democratic representatives in Congress.
In 2019, when the Democrats have been within the majority, Cicilline spearheaded a serious investigation into the competitors practices of Amazon, Apple, Google and Fb, and hauled their CEOs earlier than Congress earlier than introducing a bundle of payments to restrict their energy. Correa voted in opposition to the laws.
Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., later grew to become the highest Republican on the subcommittee and was a big ally to Cicilline in championing the tech antitrust payments. Nevertheless, as soon as Republicans took management of the Home, he was handed over to guide the committee in favor of libertarian Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky.
The tech business is prone to cheer the shift from antitrust reform advocates like Cicilline and Buck as a reprieve from years of combating in opposition to payments they noticed as overly broad or having undue penalties on client privateness.
Demand Progress Communications Director Maria Langholz known as Correa’s elevation to the position “a profound disappointment,” in an announcement after his choice was introduced, citing his opposition to a bundle of tech antitrust payments championed by former subcommittee Chair David Cicilline, D-R.I., who not too long ago left Congress and vacated the spot.
Langholz added that it is “embarrassing that Home Democrats didn’t step up and fill the void that was left by Rep. Cicilline’s departure from the subcommittee.”
“The Congressman’s Chief of Employees has spent practically 20 years in public service, most of which being spent within the halls of Congress,” a Correa spokesperson stated in an announcement to CNBC on which Muñoz was copied.
“He is fought tirelessly to serve elected representatives from each nook of the nation of their missions to uplift their constituents, and higher the lives of each working household. It is due to that unwavering dedication and historical past of service that Congressman Correa introduced him aboard his crew —to work by his facet in his struggle for the hard-working taxpayers he represents proper right here in Orange County.”
What Muñoz lobbied on
Public lobbying disclosures present that as not too long ago as 2022, Muñoz lobbied Congress on the very concern areas which Correa is now overseeing.
Correa’s means to affect the agenda whereas within the minority is proscribed, however rating members can typically serve an vital position in pushing again on the bulk or in messaging to business and businesses. Some concern that ought to the Democrats take again the Home, it can now be tougher to switch Correa with a extra reform-minded Democrat.
The disclosures don’t point out which particular payments Muñoz lobbied on. Nevertheless, in filings throughout a number of quarters, he’s listed as considered one of three lobbyists for Federal Avenue Methods who labored on concern areas associated to a number of of the payments that handed via the Home Judiciary Committee whereas Cicilline led the antitrust subcommittee.
For instance, within the second and third quarters of 2021, Muñoz is listed as considered one of three lobbyists who engaged with Congress on behalf of Apple in concern areas associated to the six payments that made up Cicilline’s cornerstone bundle on tech antitrust. That features the interval proper across the time that bundle handed via the Home Judiciary Committee in June 2021.
Lobbying disclosures by Federal Avenue point out that Muñoz was equally considered one of three lobbyists who engaged on behalf of Amazon on concern areas associated to these payments throughout the identical interval.
Among the many payments within the bundle have been the Ending Platform Monopolies Act, which might result in a breakup of dominant on-line platforms by prohibiting them from proudly owning enterprise strains that current a battle of curiosity. In addition they included the American Selection and Innovation On-line Act, which might prohibit high platforms from favoring their very own merchandise over rivals’ of their marketplaces or discriminating in opposition to rivals. It was the precursor to a Senate model of the invoice that gained steam final 12 months by passing out of the Judiciary Committee in that chamber. Nevertheless it finally failed to achieve the ground after important tech lobbying.
Once more, it is unclear from the submitting which precise payments Muñoz lobbied on.
The tech business and its commerce teams have spent hundreds of thousands on lobbying, together with in opposition to antitrust payments that may limit key parts of their enterprise fashions. Apple notably ramped up its general lobbying spending in 2022, reaching $9.4 million, a 44% enhance in comparison with the prior 12 months. Its fourth quarter submitting confirmed it lobbied on antitrust payments in addition to on-line privateness points, taxes, semiconductor coverage and extra.
Amazon spent the many of the tech giants in 2022, coming in at $19.7 million for the 12 months. Amazon additionally lobbied on tech antitrust in addition to points round cloud computing and counterfeit items.
WATCH: Here is how the lobbying business works