Broadcom hires Baker Donelson team for antitrust, tech lobbying

A sign to the campus offices of chip maker Broadcom Ltd in Irvine, California, November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake

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  • Broadcom settled FTC antitrust claims but disputed law violation
  • Tech lobbying spend has soared in recent years

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(Reuters) – Semiconductor maker Broadcom Inc has hired a lobbying team at Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz to represent it on matters including antitrust and tech supply chain issues, according to a new disclosure from the Washington, D.C.-based law firm.

Baker Donelson’s U.S. advocacy disclosure on Aug. 27 did not reveal the scope of the antitrust lobbying, and a spokesperson for the firm and two lobbyists on the registration, Nathan Daschle and Joe Hack, did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

Baker Donelson is advocating for Broadcom through its public policy advisory firm, The Daschle Group, where Daschle is president and chief operating officer and Hack is a vice president.

Lobbying on antitrust and privacy matters has soared in recent years amid a new bipartisan push to confront the power and influence of major U.S. technology companies. In June, the Biden White House announced a new executive order directing federal agencies to consider the competition implications of their decisions.

A representative from Broadcom did not return a message seeking comment about Baker Donelson’s lobbying, which began in late July, according to the disclosure.

The Washington, D.C.-based government affairs firm Invariant also disclosed it was lobbying for Broadcom on antitrust and other matters. Eric Rosen, Invariant’s head of tech, judiciary and commerce matters, and a lobbyist for Broadcom, did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Last month, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced Broadcom had agreed to settle an antitrust complaint alleging the company abused its monopoly power through restrictive contract terms and threats of retaliation against “disloyal” customers.

The chip products at issue in the agency’s complaint were used in video set-top boxes and broadband internet access devices, the FTC said.

The company said in a statement then that “while we disagree that our actions violated the law and disagree with the FTC’s characterizations of our business, we look forward to putting this matter behind us.”

The statement also said “the FTC investigation into our other businesses has been closed without action.”

Lawyers from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and Latham & Watkins represented Broadcom in the FTC settlement. The public comment window on the settlement runs until Sept. 8.

Baker Donelson reported receiving about $6 million in U.S. lobbying revenue for 2020 tied to publicly reported matters, according to data compiled by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

The firm this year has lobbied for other clients including HP Inc, CVS Health and Comcast Corp.

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Reporting by Mike Scarcella

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Mike Scarcella