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Tech Industry’s Ad Push Stalling Antitrust Bill, Klobuchar Says

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(Bloomberg) -- An “incredible onslaught of money” against a landmark bill meant to rein in the power of the biggest US technology companies has been an obstacle to passing the legislation, according to Senator Amy Klobuchar, the primary sponsor of the bill.

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Those dollars have funded advertisements designed to stir opposition to the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, targeting citizens in both Republican and Democratic states, she said Tuesday at the Code Conference in Los Angeles.

“What has slowed us down is the incredible onslaught of money, and that’s what happens with monopolies,” said Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota. “The senators are talking about it, about the ads running in each state.”

The legislation is at risk of failing with Congress running out of time to act before midterm elections in November. Organizations funded by the technology industry have spent almost $120 million on political ads since the beginning of 2021, according to ad-tracking service AdImpact, outpacing the pharmaceutical industry for the first time. Almost all that money was directed against Klobuchar’s bill.

That’s in addition to the almost $95 million that Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Apple Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Meta Platforms Inc. and their trade groups have spent on lobbying since 2021.

Concerns have been raised about the bill’s impact on content moderation, but Klobuchar doesn’t see that as a true obstacle. Legislators may add some language to clarify concerns regarding moderation on platforms.

Read more: Tech Antitrust Bill Teeters Near Defeat After Lobbying Spree

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