Google ‘ditches lobbying firms’ in shake-up anticipating government probe

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Google has fired several lobby firms and shuffled political consultants and lobbyists around amid reports that the US government may be preparing to investigate it for antitrust violations.

The tech giant ditched about six lobby firms, the Wall Street Journal reports, and restructured its Washington policy team, in addition to shedding two senior officials who helped build its influence operation in the US capital.

Earlier this month, the Journal reported that the Department of Justice is preparing to probe antitrust violations by Google, looking at its search practices in particular.

Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust Makan Delrahim, who once lobbied for Google, said Tuesday that he would look at how competition is affected by large tech companies.

The EU fined Google $1.7 billion in March for abusing its search engine dominance by blocking other companies from placing search adverts on other websites.