On Wednesday, John Elias, a senior official in the Justice Department’s antitrust division, will testify to Congress. He will claim that Attorney General William Barr improperly targeted marijuana companies with antitrust investigations due to his personal dislike for the industry.
Mr. Elias plans to testify that his DOJ department was forced to pursue unjustified investigations for political reasons. He will charge that the Justice Department abused its antitrust powers by investigating 10 proposed mergers and accusations due to Mr. Barr’s personal bias.
Elias released a statement saying, “These mergers involve companies with low market shares in a fragmented industry; they do not meet established criteria for antitrust investigations.” It goes on to state, “…They were not bona fide antitrust investigations. Nonetheless, they accounted for 29% of the antitrust division’s full-review merger investigations in Fiscal Year 2019.”
It may also be true that the investigations also violated Justice Department guidelines prohibiting the prosecution of marijuana companies in states where it is legal.
Mr. Barr was also involved in another controversy not too long ago. Shortly after President Trump took to Twitter to defend Roger Stone, Mr. Barr and the Justice Department proposed a more lenient punishment for his crimes.
Now, there are two instances in which Mr. Barr has apparently acted through personal political bias in his role as Attorney General.