Rep. Ken Buck says Republicans shouldn’t take Big Tech donations or be ‘influenced’ by massive companies

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Rep. Ken Buck said Friday that Republicans should not take donations from Big Tech, in order to avoid the appearance that they are being influenced by the massive corporations. But the Colorado Republican tread very carefully when asked about the disagreements in the GOP in Congress about how to handle Big Tech. 

“I’m not taking money from the Big Tech companies, and I’ve encouraged other Republicans not to do that, and I’ve started a pledge – we’ve got a number of Republicans that have signed that pledge – making sure that the public understands that we’re not going to be in any way influenced by these big tech companies,” he said. 

Buck made the comments in an interview with Fox News at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas. 

“I’m not alleging that any other Republican is” being influenced Buck added. “But I do think as a matter of appearance it’s important for us to take that action.”

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Buck has been among a group of conservative House Republicans and progressive Democrats who are supporting major antitrust action against companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple. But they’ve run into opposition from other Republicans, like Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who believe that government action against these companies goes against conservative small-government values. 

“Big Tech is out to get conservatives. But rather than address Republican concerns of bias and censorship on the internet, Democrats spent the last two days pushing radical antitrust legislation that will systematically change the United States economy as we know it,” Jim Jordan said last month of bills that many Republicans supported as well. 

Of those same bills, Buck told Fox News Friday that they will “help stimulate competition in those particular marketplaces.”

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, speaks during a House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hybrid hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool)

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, speaks during a House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hybrid hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool)
(AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool)

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“There are Republicans – and I’m certainly one of them – that’s afraid of big government and wants to make sure that we keep big government in check. And then there are Republicans – and I’m on this side also – that’s very concerned about Big Tech and their power over elections and the marketplace,” Buck said. “And I believe that the only way to deal with Big Tech is to, in a very surgical way, increase the size of government in the antitrust area so that we can address these issues.” 

Buck said that the differences within the GOP come from a “healthy debate,” and that he’s “not attributing bad motives to anybody that doesn’t agree with me on this anti-trust area.”

Others on the right, including Internet Accountability Project President Mike Davis, have been less diplomatic about conservatives’ differences on big tech. 

“Why do you take money from trillion-dollar #BigTech monopolists that are canceling conservatives & crushing small businesses?” Davis said in a tweet slamming Jordan for his opposition to the House Judiciary Committee’s anti-trust bills. 

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In a separate statement. Davis accused Jordan and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., of “seeking to buy time for their Big Tech benefactors by throwing sand in the gear of this bipartisan legislative process.”

Fighting big tech has been a hot issue on the right at CPAC – where there are multiple forums on the topic – and more generally. Former President Donald Trump even announced a class-action lawsuit, which experts say is nearly certain to fail, against big tech companies over alleged censorship. 

“I’m absolutely thrilled that President Trump has taken the initiative to really engage in a novel area of law and see if the courts will accept it,” Buck told Fox News. “And if they don’t, there’s nothing stopping us from making sure the law gives private parties who have been discriminated against the opportunity to address their grievances in the court.” 

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