Promoting Competition and Entrepreneurship

Promoting Competition and Entrepreneurship

When powered by competition, the US economy is at its best, providing innovative products at low prices for consumers and opportunities for entrepreneurs to create new and exciting businesses and high-paying jobs.  At its worst, monopolies or oligopolies gouge consumers and stifle innovation and opportunities for entrepreneurs.

In our economy, consumers get better choices and prices when companies battle it out in the marketplace to win over customers.  By contrast, when companies merge so that they can raise prices or fix prices rather than compete, consumers lose.  The antitrust laws protect consumers and protect workers by preventing mergers that limit competition, destroy jobs, and raise prices.  The antitrust laws also ensure that entrepreneurs have an opportunity to enter new markets and are not excluded by dominant firms who use predatory practices to protect their position in the market.

I have spent much of my legal career over the past twenty years fighting for competition, consumers, and entrepreneurs.  As our next Attorney General, I will continue that fight, and I will vigorously enforce the law to protect competition for Colorado’s consumers and entrepreneurs.

Fighting for Competition

In 1996, I joined the US Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division as the counsel to the Assistant Attorney General.  In that role, I participated in a ground-breaking investigation of the major credit card companies and spearheaded the Antitrust Division’s efforts to bring competition into telecommunications markets.  I rejoined the Division in 2009, when President Obama appointed me Deputy Assistant Attorney General.  There, I strengthened the rules barring anticompetitive mergers, fought for competition in agriculture so farmers could get a fair price for their crops, and worked with other federal agencies to promote competition across the economy. 

As Colorado’s next Attorney General, I will ensure that our antitrust laws are enforced effectively to protect Colorado consumers and entrepreneurs.  We need to stand up against the troubling wave of mergers and industry consolidation that have led to higher prices and lower quality offerings in many sectors—like those we have seen in the airline industry.  And I will take strong enforcement action when companies fix prices, as a number of State AGs have done against a price-fixing cartel for generic drugs, which led prices to rise from $20/bottle to almost $2,000/bottle.  That sort of price increase does not happen in a competitive marketplace, and we cannot let Colorado consumers suffer at the hands of such illegal behavior.

Supporting Net Neutrality

As our next Attorney General, I will be an advocate for competition, not only through effective antitrust law enforcement, but also by fighting for strong net neutrality protections.  The net neutrality rules ensure that the Internet remains open and that consumers can receive the content and services of their choosing.  Net neutrality also protects upstart entrepreneurs who could be relegated to a slow lane that would prevent them from offering innovations that challenge entrenched big businesses.  Recently, the Federal Communications Commissions ended the net neutrality protections I worked hard—as an Obama Administration official and as a law professor—to developAs our next Attorney General, I will fight to restore net neutrality and other pro-competitive rules to protect consumers and innovators from abuses.

Consumer Protection

Consumers deserve transparent prices, honest business practices, and fair terms of service.  And consumers must be protected when irresponsible companies fail to provide the products or services they promise.  Consider, for example, the case of Wells Fargo, which created millions of bogus bank accounts for customers that the customers didn’t ask for—and then fired the employees who attempted to blow the whistle.  This practice continued until the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) put an end to it and stood up for consumers.  But the CFPB is now lead by someone who does not believe it is important to protect consumers.  And that’s why we need a Colorado Attorney General who will stand up for consumers when they are deceived or ripped off by irresponsible businesses.

As our next Attorney General, I will be a strong advocate for consumers, workers, and entrepreneurs, fighting to ensure that everyone is treated fairly and not taken advantage of by irresponsible companies.  Without leadership from federal agencies like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, we need our Attorney General here in Colorado to be on the front lines and standing up to irresponsible companies.

Supporting Entrepreneurs

In Colorado, we have an entrepreneurial spirit and recognize that new startups are critical to the future of our economy.  Today, however, we are seeing more and more mergers, less and less competition, and fewer startups (as captured by this report).  Throughout my career here in Colorado, I have led initiatives to help entrepreneurs, by founding and leading the Silicon Flatirons Center at the University of Colorado, by founding Startup Colorado (which supports entrepreneurs across the State), and by bringing the Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network to Colorado (to support scale-up companies here).

As Attorney General, I will fight for an economy and legal environment that supports entrepreneurs and eliminates barriers to entry for new businesses in our state. Colorado must be a leader in creating an environment that encourages investment and enables entrepreneurs to succeed.

Building an Economy That Works for Everyone

One result of the merger wave is that our economy works well for the few, but isn’t providing new jobs and low prices for the rest of us.  As Attorney General, I will strive to ensure that the legal system creates and protects opportunities for new and better jobs and businesses, so that all Coloradans have a chance to participate in the American Dream.

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