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Lou Correa
Rep. Lou Correa came into his leadership position on the House Judiciary’s Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law subcommittee after progressive former Rep. David Cicilline’s retirement from Congress. J. Scott Applewhite/AP

The Very Secret — But Very Loud — Campaign to Oust the Top House Dem on Antitrust Issues

Early discussions are underway to form a super PAC to kick Rep. Lou Correa from Congress, as advocates blast him for actively undermining the Biden administration’s agenda on Big Tech.

House Democrats’ top lawmaker on antitrust has ties to Big Tech and has made recent moves against the Biden administration’s efforts to break up corporate power. There’s a growing campaign to kick him out of his leadership position.

Quietly, there’s also a new and very early effort underway to form a super PAC aimed at pushing Rep. Lou Correa out of Congress entirely in 2026, two established Democratic operatives involved in the conversations told NOTUS this week. They were granted anonymity to share preliminary details about the group.

“Incumbency is the biggest advantage in House politics, and any politics, and that’s why you do need resources like this PAC to mount a serious opposition,” one Democratic adviser said, noting that while the effort is still in very early stages, there’s “certainly no lack of interest in donating to an effort, a super PAC like that” and that “essentially next year, we would want to have a war room-type entity.”

Digital rights and progressive advocacy groups have already been blasting the California Democrat for being cozy with Silicon Valley — including hiring a chief of staff who previously lobbied for Apple and Amazon. Correa became the ranking member of the House antitrust subcommittee last summer and has since received $7,500 in campaign donations from PACs associated with Amazon, Meta and Google.

“Correa has been actively undermining the Biden administration and mainstream views in the caucus, and there’s been too little accountability,” a second political consultant who is also involved in the early super PAC talks told NOTUS.

Correa is a shoo-in to win his election this upcoming November. He had no Democratic primary challengers in the California March primary and is running against a Republican in November in a heavily Democratic district.

He came into his leadership position on the House Judiciary’s Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law subcommittee after progressive former Rep. David Cicilline’s retirement from Congress. Republican Rep. Thomas Massie was appointed chair just six months prior.

Since taking over as ranking member, Correa has declined to sign on to multiple congressional letters in support of antitrust action, including two last week, sources told NOTUS. He also partnered with Massie on an April staff-only panel critical of new Federal Trade Commission rules and was one of just five Democrats to side with him on a proposed amendment curbing Department of Transportation merger review authority.

The progressive advocacy group P Street Project has previously sent mailers to Correa’s constituents calling him “Big Tech’s Best Friend in Congress,” criticizing his past votes against Cicilline-led efforts to crack down on Big Tech monopoly power. Revolving Door Project sent Correa a letter in October raising concerns about his chief of staff’s former lobbying work, and the digital rights group Fight for the Future called on House Democratic leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries to remove Correa from subcommittee leadership in November for having been “openly hostile to reform efforts.”

Correa, who was endorsed by the Chamber of Commerce, “was very resistant” to the committee’s previous efforts to rein in Big Tech, one former Republican House Judiciary staffer told NOTUS.

Lina Khan
Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan has garnered praise from both sides of the aisle for taking aggressive action against corporate consolidation. Graeme Jennings/AP

Correa’s positions come in direct contrast to the Biden administration’s efforts on the issue. Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan has led the FTC’s ambitious lawsuits, including against Amazon for monopoly control and issued new rules banning noncompetes and sweeping new merger guidelines.

“Props to [Federal Trade Commission] and [Department of Justice] for taking on monopolies in the administration, but the reason why they’ve had to do so much is because Congress refuses to legislate,” the Democratic political adviser said. “Why does Congress refuse to legislate? It’s because of people like Rep. Correa standing in the way.”

Antitrust advocates are concerned that Correa could become the chair of the antitrust subcommittee if Democrats take back the House this year.

“I think when you see monopoly or competition policy, it can be esoteric, but it speaks to so many issue points that Democrats run on and win on. It speaks to health care, to workers’ rights, to mental health care — monopoly power has consolidated all of these industries,” the adviser added.

Correa’s office did not respond to NOTUS’ request for an interview or written comment. In response to past criticism, a spokesperson for his office provided statements to The Hill saying Correa “was elected to office to fight on behalf of his constituents and his state, and takes those fights directly to Washington’s front door” and noted that he ascended to his leadership role “with the unanimous support of his Democratic colleagues on the House Judiciary Committee.”

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There has been an unlikely bipartisan coalition for antitrust reform, including some MAGA-world fans of Khan’s aggressive action against corporate consolidation and the former chair and ranking member of the House subcommittee.

Last Congress, the subcommittee, led by Cicilline and Freedom Caucus member and antitrust advocate former Rep. Ken Buck, was a thorn in the side of Big Tech. The House subcommittee led an investigation into monopoly power maintained by Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook — and advanced six sweeping antitrust reform bills (which Correa voted against).

Cicilline and Buck “engaged in a two-year long, wonderful bipartisan study of the impact of Big Tech on competition and consumers, and it got derailed with the change in leadership,” said Democratic Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, who is also on the subcommittee.

A former Republican Judiciary Committee staffer who helped work on the Buck and Cicilline’s bills said Correa was long viewed as an obstacle to the bipartisan efforts to rein in Big Tech monopoly power. “He was one of the Silicon Valley shills, essentially, that we never thought was actually going to get there.”

The subcommittee has held just three hearings over the past year: one on regulatory barriers, another on increasing oversight of the DOJ’s antitrust division and one on “reining in the administrative state.”

Then, in April, Correa and Massie held a joint staff-only meeting with a panel of antitrust skeptics about recent new merger guidelines and additional proposed changes. The panel had three speakers: Trump’s former Federal Trade Commission pick and two private sector executives, an invitation obtained by NOTUS and first reported by The American Prospect shows.

Not everyone blames the Democratic ranking member, or even Massie, for the sharp turn away from the heyday of antitrust reform in the House subcommittee’s past. Judiciary Committee ranking member Rep. Jerry Nadler declined to comment on Correa, but told NOTUS that there’s not much the subcommittee could do under a Judiciary Committee led by Rep. Jim Jordan.

“He’s preventing anything meaningful from happening on anything,” Nadler said of Jordan. “What has the committee done other than bogus investigations? I can’t think of any substantive legislation report on any subject whatsoever.”

For those plotting against Correa, that’s all the more reason to plan now for a House with Democrats in charge.

“The purpose is to just do the groundwork right now, I think, so it’d be ready to. It would be ready to hit the ground running next cycle,” the Democratic political adviser said. “We want to be prepared.”

Claire Heddles is a NOTUS reporter and an Allbritton Journalism Institute fellow.