CSE Responds to Filing in the Microsoft Antitrust Case

Assault on Consumers Continues

The CSE issued a press release on Friday condemning the DOJ’s response to Microsoft’s appeal in the antitrust case against the company. “By filing a brief in response to the Microsoft appeal,” the release noted, “the DOJ and 19 states’ attorneys general signaled their willingness to waste limited taxpayer dollars prosecuting a company that has provided measurable benefits to consumers.”

Erick Gustafson, Director of CSE’s Center for Consumer Choice, issued the following statement: “It is tragic that the DOJ and 19 states continue to spend taxpayer funds on such a baseless case. So far the DOJ has spent nearly $50 million, while Microsoft’s value dropped more than 50 percent. Continued prosecution of the company can only lead to more disastrous consequences. The world of software has changed since 1998 and only government lawyers hold fast to antiquated regulatory initiatives.”

Gustafson’s comments were published in the Jan. 12 issue of Wired News in an article by Declan McCullagh, “DOJ pushes Case Against MS.”

CSE Defends Bush Nominees

Over 2,000 Letters and E-mail Sent

The U.S. Senate has begun confirmation hearings on John Ashcroft’s nomination for Attorney General. Big-government special interests, largely using trial lawyer dollars, are spreading misinformation about Senator Ashcroft’s personal and professional life in an attempt to derail his confirmation. CSE broadened the debate from one strictly about social issues to a debate that shows public support for the Senator’s strong record promoting sound economic policy.

As part of an overall coalition effort, CSE is successfully motivating and mobilizing our activists to fight for the Ashcroft confirmation based on his strong economic record. In just a few short days, we have:

Emailed a Call to Action to more than 40,000 activists across the nation;

Generated more than 2,000 e-mails and letters and dozens more calls from our grassroots members to their U.S. Senators;

Conducted on-going U.S. Senate district office visits with our staff and volunteer activists;

Appeared on talk-radio shows in several states with CSE chapters; and

Sent a letter from CSE’s president and talking points to all U.S. Senate offices urging confirmation.

CSE on TV and Radio

Comments on American/TWA, Microsoft

Center for Consumer Choice Director Erick Gustafson was a featured guest on Carl Wiglesworth’s radio show on W-KTSA in San Antonio. Gustafson commented that consumers would benefit from the proposed acquisition of TWA by American Airlines: “American’s acquisition of TWA will ensure that the airline industry will remain healthy and competitive. Passengers of TWA’s flights will continue to see competitive service to and from desired destinations. Also, regulators should look into the acquisition as a market-based solution to addressing failing airlines.”

Iowa CSE Director Jason Gross was a featured guest on “Open Line,” a radio show hosted by Randy Renshaw on W-KSCJ in Sioux City. Gross defended Bush’s nominee for Attorney General: “Senator Ashcroft’s strongest record is on upholding the rule of law… this is in stark contract to the current administration’s abuses of our justice system by regulation through litigation and our antitrust laws. The Microsoft case, for example, was an unprecedented intrusion to achieve in the courts what could not be achieved in Congress.”

Thirty Washington CSE activists, including state director and former state legislator Gary Strannigan, participated in W-KOMO’s townhall meeting with Governor Gary Locke, which was broadcast on live television Jan. 5. Nearly one-third of the 100 participants were CSE members and were able to the ask the governor questions about the forthcoming multi-billion dollar light-rail project, which is forecast to cost taxpayers twice more than projected.

One activist asked the Governor:

“Light rail is a hot topic in the area right now, and I think it has to do with the disconnect between what the voters thought they voted for and what the Sound Transit is now going to deliver… We were led to believe that this was going to be an answer to congestion, at least to some extent, now we find out it won’t affect congestion. We were told it could be an alternative for people stuck in traffic, now we find that it will cost about $500,000 per person who gets to exercise that option… My question to you is would you be prepared to require another vote of confidence from the electorate before spending state money to bail out Sound Transit?”

Following the program, Gov. Locke made a commitment to let the voters have a say in any proposed tax increases for the plan.

Erick Gustafson was also recently quoted in a Los Angeles Times syndicate article entitled “Bush to name a technology czar.” Gustafson was quoted: “I believe the technology czar’s role would be like that of [Virginia Secretary of Technology Don] Upson’s or Bill Bennett.”