• Attorneys general from 48 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam are involved in the investigation
  • Google objects to their use of outside consultants who have worked for Google's rivals
  • Google also wants to limit the attorneys general's access to information gathered by the Justice Department

Google reportedly has declined to turn over emails, text messages and other documents in an investigation of anticompetitive practices being led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

The Wall Street Journal reported Friday Google also has declined to sign a waiver that would allow Paxton and other attorneys general to access information gathered in a Justice Department investigation. The attorneys general for 48 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam are trying to determine if Google and other tech giants engaged in anticompetitive behavior.

“Every indication right now is they don’t believe that they’re clean because they don’t act in any way like they are,” Paxton told the Journal.

A spokeswoman for Google said the company’s concerns center on the attorneys general use of outside business consultants in its investigation and that the company already has provided “100,000 pages of information.”

“We’re … concerned with the irregular way this investigation is proceeding, including unusual arrangements with advisers who work with our competitors and vocal complainants,” the spokeswoman said.

“We have always acted in good faith in answering regulators’ questions promptly, honestly and thoroughly, providing millions of pages of documents over the years about our various businesses and technologies. Any suggestion to the contrary is simply false.”

Google filed suit Oct. 31 seeking to prevent the consultants from using whatever information they obtain improperly. Google noted one of the individuals worked “directly for numerous Google adversaries,” including Microsoft and New Corp., which owns the Journal. News Corp. has complained digital companies siphon ad revenue from content providers without providing adequate compensation while Microsoft and Google compete in such arenas as cloud services and productivity tools.

Google’s attorneys have raised questions about the scope of the Texas requests, saying they have gone beyond a civil subpoena issued in September. Investigators also want to talk to 96 employees while the company wants to limit the interviews to 11, the Journal said, citing letters exchanged between the two sides.

The Journal reported earlier this month the Justice Department has ramped up its investigation into Google, focusing on the company’s online ad tools, which give it the advantage in monetizing digital content.

Congress and the Federal Trade Commission also are looking at big tech firms with an eye toward whether they should be broken up.

“They’ve bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit, and tilted the playing field against everyone else. And in the process, they have hurt small businesses and stifled innovation,” Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has alleged.