Democratic Congressman Wants FTC To Release Reports Of Closed Google Probe

With Silicon Valley under increased scrutiny on Capitol Hill, Democratic lawmaker Keith Ellison is asking the Federal Trade Commission for more information about its long-closed antitrust investigation of Google.

"Given the impact Google has on small businesses, the flow of information, and that Google controls an outsize portion of the market for online search and online advertising, the public has a right to know what the Federal Trade Commission found in its investigation into Google," Rep. Ellison (D-Minnesota) wrote this week to Acting FTC Chair Maureen Ohlhausen.

In January 2013, the FTC closed a 20-month probe of Google without finding that the company had violated antitrust laws by promoting its own services in its search results. Former Chairman Jon Leibowitz said that Google's primary reason for touting its own offerings in the search results was "to improve the user experience," as opposed to harming potential competitors.

At the time, Google also agreed to make minor changes to its services. Notably, the search company promised to allow companies to opt out of appearing in the vertical search engines -- like Google Local -- but still appear in the general search results.

This June, antitrust regulators in the EU fined Google $2.7 billion for promoting its own shopping service in the search results. Google is appealing the decision.

Ellison says the EU's move provides a "compelling reason" for the FTC to publicly release its prior reports.

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