"Google, Amazon and Qualcomm finance a George Mason University institute teaching a hands-off approach to antitrust regulators and judges.

A year ago, antitrust officials from Australia, Brazil, China, Japan and eight other countries enjoyed $110-a-plate steak dinners and unlimited pours from $70 bottles of wine at a beachfront hotel surrounded by panoramic views of the sun setting over the Pacific Ocean.

The opulent meal was the culmination of a weeklong conference in scenic Huntington Beach, Calif., for 30 foreign government officials who enforce competition laws. The trip was organized and mostly paid for by the Global Antitrust Institute, a part of the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.

Regulators spent the days in classes with the institute’s staff, which included a senior federal judge and a former commissioner at the Federal Trade Commission. The program was presented as continuing education for antitrust regulators — a way to learn more about the economic underpinnings of competition law.

But critics and past attendees of similar conferences run by the institute said the sessions were more about delivering a clear message to international officials that benefited the companies paying for the event: The best way to foster competition is to maintain a hands-off approach to antitrust law."

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