Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s extensive ties to Big Tech firms have raised the specter that the powerful Democrat has put the brakes on much-sought antitrust laws being pushed by his own party.
Greater than 80 former paid staffers of the longtime Latest York lawmaker have leveraged their time with Schumer to secure prestigious jobs, working directly with firms including Amazon, Facebook, Google and Apple, in keeping with data compiled for The Post.
The data was collected from publicly available filings of congressional staffers on LegiStorm — a web based repository of knowledge about congressional staffers and their compensation.
The evaluation reviewed roughly 600 former paid Schumer staffers over the past 20 years and cross-referenced their employment history with other publicly available information – including lobbying registration, LinkedIn profiles and company web sites – to find out their Big Tech ties.
The info comes because the Senate Judiciary Committee voted in January to maneuver The U.S. Web Innovation and Selection Act and the Open Marketplace Apps Act forward — but await Schumer’s green light for a full Senate vote.
Greater than 80 Schumer paid staffers have gone on to work in Big Tech roles.Los Angeles Times via Getty Imag
“Schumer doesn’t wish to bring the bills to the ground,” Matt Stoller, an antitrust expert and Director of Research on the American Economic Liberties Project, told The Post. “If he brings them to the ground they’ll pass – if you desire to kill this laws without being overt you’d just stop it from being put up for a vote.”
The Post was first to report that each of Schumer’s daughters are on the payroll of firms Schumer is purported to be regulating. And the bevy of staffers who’ve worked alongside Schumer during his a few years in Congress only add to the perceived conflict of interest Schumer has relating to cracking down on Big Tech.
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Jessica Schumer is a registered lobbyist at Amazon, in keeping with Latest York state records. Alison Schumer works at Facebook as a product marketing manager.
Schumer’s office provided an inventory to The Post of assorted actions the senator has taken to guard consumers. Additionally they note one anti-Big Tech FTC Commissioner, Becca Kelly Slaughter, is a former Schumer staffer.
“If The Post desires to run a story about some ‘list’ related to Senator Schumer and tech, start with the one I provided detailing countless consumer wins, tough antitrust policies and legislative actions that defy, disprove and dropkick any notion of ‘outside influence,’” Schumer spokesman Angelo Roefaro said.
The Senate Majority Leader has also been juggling a busy legislative calendar: confirming Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, getting funding to Ukraine, and most recently an effort to codify abortion rights
And Schumer just made good on his promise to get anti-tech progressive Alvaro Bedoya confirmed because the fifth commissioner on the Federal Trade Commission — giving Chairman Lina Khan the bulk she must reign in tech firms.
In a press release, the senator said the FTC can begin “cracking down on bad actor firms… using anticompetitive practices.”
Former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos testified about Amazon in front of Congress.Getty Images
But others suggest that Schumer could also be stalling on bringing the bills to the ground because the midterm elections loom and he doesn’t wish to ruffle the feathers of his Big Tech benefactors – a few of which have come under fire for repressing free speech and operating as a monopoly.
While Google employees and the corporate’s PAC have donated roughly $200,000 to Schumer this election cycle in keeping with public filings, a overwhelming majority of donations to Schumer come from dark money — which makes it hard to trace donors.
“Schumer is the one person standing in the way in which of bipartisan laws regulating Google, Apple, and Amazon,” a former Senate staffer told The Post. “Given the staffers who work in Big Tech and money he’s raised from Big Tech there are deep concerns as to why he won’t move these bills forward.”
The Web Innovation and Selection Act — or so-called “non-discrimination bill” — would stop platforms from “self-preferencing” their content. As an example, Amazon would now not find a way to advertise its own content over third-party sellers on its e-commerce platform.
The Open Marketplace Apps Act would attempt to attenuate Apple and Google’s duopoly on app-makers by giving developers more rights like allowing them to make use of their very own payment processor and letting them contact users directly with various offers.
Senator Schumer just worked to appoint progressive Commissioner Bedoya to the FTC.Getty Images
While many government staffers leave the federal payroll in the hunt for greener pastures, the vast array of staffers leaving Schumer’s office for jobs in Big Tech is exclusive, sources told The Post. These former aides even have outsized impact on policy now that Schumer is essentially the most powerful man within the Senate, they added.
“That’s definitely a concentration,” Jeff Hauser, founder and director of the Revolving Door Project says of the magnitude of staffers going to big tech jobs.
Hauser suggests David Hantman — Schumer’s former chief of staff who took a top job at Yahoo and Airbnb before opening his own tech lobbying firm, and whose wife was Google’s first in-house lobbyist – could have “served as a gravitational pull” when it got here to staffers pursuing tech jobs.
Based on sources, Schumer considered nominating Hantman for a commissioner role on the Federal Trade Commission but pulled the plug amid worries he’d receive an excessive amount of backlash.
Schumer has other notable alums with deep ties to big tech.
Each Schumer’s daughters are on the Big Tech payroll.Senator Chuck Schumer/Facebook
Stefanie Martz was Schumer’s chief counsel for five years before taking a job as lobbyist at Monument Policy Group where she’s lobbied for Amazon and Google.
Marisa Hawley, who worked with Schumer from 2019 to 2021, is now a lobbyist with the Information Technology Industry Council, which works on behalf of clients including Google and Amazon.
Daniel Kidera worked as an aide from 2006 to 2008 before becoming a lobbyist. He lobbied on behalf of Meta from 2018 to 2021.
Hauser explains that staffers who take jobs lobbying for tech don’t really leave the nest. The truth is they arrive back to feed the little legislative birdies with information that inform Schumer’s policy.
“With Congressional staff being shriveled, junior staffers are reliant on corporate lobbyists for research,” Hauser notes. “It’s hard to be skeptical of claims after they’re coming from friends and past colleagues.”
Hauser adds that the majority staffers rely heavily on alumni networks for details about issues of their current roles — and in addition for help getting a job after they leave Capitol Hill.
“The Hill networks are very powerful and other people look out for every others … the actual fact a whole lot of people becomes lobbyists creates downsides,” Hauser adds.
To be certain, lots of Schumer’s closest aides have stayed with him for many years.
“There are individuals who have stuck by his side for years — and it’s his inner circle who’re on speed dial. Those relationships only come after many years,” a source told The Post.
As recently as 2018, Schumer has said he was “sympathetic” and had been “pretty kind” to tech firms. Schumer has also called Facebook a “very positive force” and an “antidote” to the far right.
“I believe [Schumer’s staff] is perhaps underestimating how bad the optics are around his conflicts of interest if he doesn’t put the antitrust bills up for a vote,” a former Schumer aide told The Post.