UNITED STATES – FEBRUARY 28: Rep. Lou Correa, D-Calif., walks down the House steps after the final vote of the week on Friday, February 28, 2020.

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The senior new democrat’s chief of staff lobbied on the house antitrust subcommittee on judiciary on behalf of Amazon And apple as recently as 2022, including the very cases the distinguished member will oversee in his new role, CNBC found based on public disclosures.

California’s top Democratic staffer, Lou Correa, is likely to have a background that upset progressives who have supported efforts to reform the rules of the road around digital competition. Rene Muñoz has held the position of Chief of Staff of Korea since November 2022, according to the LegiStorm Congress tracking website.

Prior to that, Muñoz worked for lobbying firm Federal Street Strategies starting in May 2020, according to LinkedIn, where his clients included Amazon and Apple, among other companies. Earlier, he worked with other Democratic representatives in Congress.

In 2019, when the Democrats were in the majority, Rhode Island Democratic Rep. David Cicilline He led a major investigation On competition practices at Amazon and Apple, Google And Facebookand referred their chief executives before Congress. Offer a bundle of bills to limit their power. Correa voted against the legislation.

Rep. Ken Buck, a Colo. R., would later become the top Republican on the subcommittee and was an important ally of Cicilline in advocating for technology antitrust law. However, once the Republicans took control of the House of Representatives, Buck was passed over and libertarian Representative Thomas Massie, R-Kentucky, was chosen to lead the committee.

The tech industry is likely to rejoice in the turnaround from antitrust reform advocates like Cicilline and Buck as a reprieve from years of fighting against bills they saw as too broad or having undue consequences for consumer privacy.

Maria Langholz, director of application communications, called Correa’s rise to the role a “deep disappointment,” in a statement after his selection was announced, citing opposition to a package of tech antitrust laws endorsed by Cecilline, who recently left Congress and vacated the space.

A spokesperson for the Progressive Advocacy Group added, “It is embarrassing that House members failed to step up and fill the void left by Rep. Cicilline’s departure from the subcommittee.”

“The Chief of Staff of Congress has spent nearly two decades in public service, much of it spent in the halls of Congress,” a Correa spokesperson said in a statement to CNBC transcribed by Muñoz.

“He fought tirelessly to serve elected representatives from every corner of the country in their missions to uplift their constituents, and to improve the lives of every working family. It is because of this unwavering commitment and history of service that Congressman Correa has him on board—to work alongside him in his fight for hard-working taxpayers.” whom he represents here in Orange County.”

Muñoz pressured him

Public disclosures show that through 2022, Muñoz lobbied Congress in the same areas Correa now oversees.

Corea’s ability to influence the agenda while in the minority is limited, but seasoned members can often play an important role in fending off the majority or in sending messages to industry and agencies. Some fear that if the Democrats take back the House of Representatives, it will now be difficult to replace Correa with a more reform-minded Democrat.

The disclosures do not indicate the specific bills that Muñoz lobbied for. However, in filings across multiple quarters, he is listed as one of three lobbyists for Federal Street Strategies who worked on case areas related to several bills that passed through the House Judiciary Committee while Cicilline led the Antitrust Subcommittee.

For example, in second And Third quarter of 2021Muñoz is listed as one of three lobbyists who have engaged with Congress on Apple’s behalf on areas related to the six bills that made up Cicilline’s core package on technology antitrust. That includes the period around the time that package passed through the House Judiciary Committee in June 2021.

Lobbying disclosures from Federal Street indicate that Muñoz was likewise one of three lobbyists who were involved on Amazon’s behalf in areas related to these bills during same a period.

Among the bills in the package was the Ending Platform Monopolies Act, which could lead to the disintegration of dominant online platforms by barring them from having conflict-of-interest lines of business.

It also included the American Choice and Online Innovation Act, which would prevent major platforms from favoring their own products over competitors in their own markets or discriminating against competitors. This was a precursor to the Senate version of the bill that gained traction last year by passing it out of that chamber’s Judiciary Committee. But she finally failed to reach the floor after that Great technical pressure.

Again, it is not clear from the filing which exact bills Muñoz pressed.

The tech industry and its trade groups have spent millions lobbying, including against antitrust bills that would restrict core elements of their business models. Apple notably boosted its total lobbying spend in 2022, to $9.4 million, a 44% increase over the previous year. Filings last quarter showed it put pressure on antitrust bills as well as issues of online privacy, tax, semiconductor policy, and more.

Amazon spent the most on tech giants in 2022, coming in at $19.7 million. The e-commerce giant has also pressed technology antitrust issues as well as issues related to cloud computing and counterfeit goods.

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