Issa Seeks Investigation Into Google Leaks

Rep. Says Commission Needs to Start Inquiry ASAP

Oversight and Government Reform has asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate press leaks of details of its settlement with Google, announced last week.

In a letter to FTC Inspector General Scott Wilson, a copy of which was supplied by a committee staffer, Rep. Daniel Issa (R.-Calif.) said such leaks were illegal and counterproductive to the investigation and asked the IG to look into it.

"Throughout the process, nonpublic information about developments in the investigation has been inappropriately shared with the media," Issa wrote. "It is believed the commission may be contributing to, or is the source, of this information."

He also cited complaints by Democratic Rep. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) about the leaks, and Kerry's similar request for an investigation.

The commission concluded that Google's search business was not illegally anticompetitive, but the company agreed to make some changes in the interests of user transparency and control. The FTC did order Google to make some of its essential smartphone-related patents acquired from Motorola available to competitors, which Motorola had been required to do.

An FTC spokesperson confirmed it had received the letter, but had not comment on whether or not it was conducting an investigation. The FTC would not confirm that Kerry had also asked for an investigation, referring a reporter to the Senator's office. The office had not returned a request for comment at press time, but Issa's letter referenced a Kerry statement at the Dec. 4 nominations hearing for new FTC Commissioner Joshua Wright.