WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Far more executives from technology companies than outspoken tech critics were named to U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team on Tuesday, offering clues on who will decide on filling key roles and ultimately influence his administration’s thinking in coming years.
Tech companies have been trying to strengthen their relationship with a future Biden administration to ensure they have a voice in an onslaught of federal and state investigations of their business practices.
The Biden transition team released a list of agency review teams on Tuesday.
Amazon.com Inc’s Tom Sullivan, an executive on the public policy team, will be part of Biden’s review team overseeing the Department of State. Similarly, Mark Schwartz from Amazon’s cloud computing arm, who is also a former Obama administration official, will be weighing in on decisions for the Office of Management and Budget.
Microsoft-owned LinkedIn’s senior director for North America policy, Nicole Isaac, is part of the team overseeing the Department of Treasury.
Nicole Wong, a former deputy chief technology officer under the administration of Democratic President Barack Obama and a vice president and general counsel for Alphabet-owned Google found a spot in the review team for the National Security Council.
By contrast, tech critics such as Gene Kimmelman, senior adviser with Washington-based Public Knowledge, which focuses on areas such as antitrust policy, will be on the review team for the Department of Justice and Sarah Miller from the American Economic Liberties Project was chosen for the group weighing in on decisions about the Department of Treasury.
Both Kimmelman and Miller have pushed for higher antitrust scrutiny of Big Tech’s business practices.
Kimmelman declined comment. Miller did not respond to requests for comment.
Executives from relatively smaller tech companies such as AirBnB, Uber, Lyft, and Stripe were also appointed into these agency review groups.
Amazon declined comment. The other companies did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A Biden transition team spokesman said agency review teams are responsible for evaluating the operations of the federal agencies and making sure the Biden-Harris administration can achieve policy goals discussed during the campaign.
There will also be a team reviewing the Federal Trade Commission, which includes Bill Baer, a former director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition and ex-head of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division, who has recently called for tougher antitrust law.
Baer’s DOJ sued to stop two insurance company mergers on the same day in 2016.
The FTC team also includes Laura Moy, who teaches at Georgetown Law and is an expert on consumer privacy, data security and net neutrality. The lead in the team is Heather Hippsley, a three-decade veteran of the agency.
Reporting by Nandita Bose, David Shepardson and Diane Bartz in Washington and Jeffrey Dastin in San Francisco; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien and Christopher Cushing