Loophole in New Senate Bill Will Exempt Walmart and Target

(JustPatriots.com)- A bill introduced by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) may contain a loophole that exempts some mega-corporations from compliance.

The Platform Competition and Opportunity Act introduced last Friday would prevent Big Tech corporations like Amazon, Facebook, and Google from acquiring competing firms unless they can prove that the merger is not an attempt to crush their competition.

The legislation is in response to previous acquisitions made by Facebook, most notably when it purchased WhatsApp and Instagram. When those purchases were made, the onus was on the government to prove that the merger would harm consumers. Cotton and Klobuchar’s legislation would put the onus on the corporation instead.

But according to an editorial at Reason, the bill contains a “crooked provision” that would provide a loophole for such mega-retailers as Target and Walmart.

Reason argues that the e-commerce platforms for both Target and Walmart are growing at a faster rate than Amazon. But they would be immune from the antitrust action in this bill if they overtook Amazon.

Why?

Because the law only applies to corporations that, as of the date of enactment, have net annual sales of $600 billion in the previous calendar year or with a market capitalization of more than $600 billion.

The loophole is the phrasing “as of the date of enactment.”

While Facebook and Amazon both have a market capitalization of over $600 billion, Target and Walmart are currently under the $600 billion threshold. So if, after the law is passed, either Target or Walmart overtakes Amazon, both would be exempt from the law.

Reason wonders if this “as of the date of enactment” loophole might have been deliberate on the part of the Senators.

Target is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Walmart is headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas. Did the Senators from Minnesota and Arkansas include a loophole that protects the mega-corporations located in their states?

Reason concedes that it may just be a coincidence. But it is rather interesting.

Read the column at Reason HERE.