“The American Sugar Refining Company” one of the many 1890s themed Department of Justice Antitrust Division employee bands. Sociologists have attributed the phenomenon to “proxy parental juvenile rebellion” whereby staff lawyers “rebel” against the “parental” tenets of antitrust law by embracing the 1890s when trusts like American Sugar Company were untouchable.
An 1890’s craze has been sweeping the Department of Justice antitrust division. Employees of the formerly respected part of the executive branch have recently taken to growing enormous mustaches, riding bicycles with large front wheels and using antitrust law to enrich and further entrench existing trusts like Google.
“It was a really cool time. The Supreme Court in 1895 used a law intended to bust trusts (The Sherman Act) to actually go after labor unions” said a lawyer in litigation section III. “I mean this is exactly what we are doing with songwriter performing rights organizations.”
“This is like the golden age of antitrust law, before The Clayton Act made the law work as intended” offered another lawyer from section II. “If these disgusting songwriters didn’t want the boot of the Department of Justice on their throats they should have done something different with their lives.”
When this reporter asked for clarification on what other things songwriters could have done with their lives, the lawyers suggested alternative careers like “click fraud,” “mass copyright infringement” or “start a monopolist search engine/search advertising firm.”
“Yeah we never go after that kind of stuff” a young staffer offered.
The craze traces it roots back to the rehiring of Renata Hesse at the DOJ in 2011. During a brief revolving door sabbatical from DOJ Hesse apparently worked in private practice (Ka-ching!) to defend Google from DOJ concerns that the Google-Yahoo search advertising lockup was anti-competitive. Hesse omits this detail from her DOJ bio.
Hesse refused to comment on the record but another DOJ staffer told us “We are elite lawyers from the most elite institutions in the world, Harvard, Yale, UC Berkeley. No one should expect us to relate to the little guy, those we are charged with protecting. No one should expect us to have morals, ethics, humility or common sense.”