Microsoft was given an advance copy of major antitrust legislation, a document given to Republican Rep. Thomas Massie by a whistleblower appeared to show.
The document is the original version of the Platform Competition and Opportunity Act, one of Democrats’ six pending antitrust bills targeting Big Tech, according to Rep. Thomas Massie. Every page of the document, which the Daily Caller News Foundation obtained on Wednesday, is watermarked with the text “CONFIDENTIAL – Microsoft.”
“I just came into possession of a document that everyone needs to know about,” Massie said during the Judiciary Committee markup of the legislation on Wednesday. “It’s marked ‘CONFIDENTIAL – Microsoft.’ A whistleblower provided this. It’s the first draft of one of these bills that would’ve covered Microsoft. This begs the question: did Microsoft have this bill and the other bills that we are voting on today before I had this bill?”
“Why would you have to mark it ‘CONFIDENTIAL – Microsoft’ if they found it on the website for Congress,” he said. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: House Judiciary GOP Slams Microsoft’s ‘Woke Agenda,’ Welcome Hearing With CEO)
— House Judiciary GOP (@JudiciaryGOP) June 23, 2021
The original version of the Platform Competition and Opportunity Act that Microsoft apparently received notably included a much lower threshold for determining which Big Tech companies would be affected than the updated version, the whistleblower document showed. Whereas the latest version of the bill states that platforms with at least 50 million monthly active users would be subject to the antitrust regulations, the original version provided by the whistleblower set that number at 500,000.
The monthly active users change exempts Microsoft’s services from being affected by the proposed regulations, Massie said during the hearing. He asked the other members of the committee if any other Big Tech company was also exempted from the regulations due to the alterations.
Later in the hearing, meanwhile, Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan echoed Massie’s criticism. He argued that the committee cannot overlook Microsoft and its censorship of conservatives.
“That’s what we have here: Bills that supposedly go after Big Tech being written by Big Tech,” Jordan said.
Judiciary Committee Democrats first unveiled their antitrust bills earlier this month. The legislation, which has bipartisan support, could reportedly lead to prosecutors breaking up Big Tech companies.
Large tech companies “have too much power” over the U.S. economy, Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust Chairman David Cicilline said in a statement.
The Platform Competition and Opportunity Act was sponsored by Democratic Rep. Hakeem Jeffries. The bill would prohibit major Big Tech acquisitions that entrench a company’s market power.
Microsoft didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
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