Senators inquire about White House’s role in T-Mobile-Sprint merger review

Six Democratic senators, including several presidential candidates, asked Makan Delrahim, head of the DOJ's antitrust division, if the White House attempted to influence the DOJ’s review of the T-Mobile-Sprint merger. Sens. Warren (D-MA), Markey (D-MA), Klobuchar (D-MN), Booker (D-NJ), Udall (D-NM), and Blumenthal (D-CT) sent their inquiry in response to recent news that senior White House officials were supportive of the merger after DOJ staff made a recommendation to block the merger.

“The prospect of department leadership ignoring a career staff recommendation to block a transaction – based on more than a year of investigation – and allowing an anticompetitive merger to proceed under pressure from the White House is deeply troubling,” the senators wrote. “In light of the potential implications of this transaction for American consumers, we write to reiterate that the Department’s decisions should be based on an impartial analysis of the facts and the law, and must be entirely free of improper political influence.”

All eyes are on Delrahim’s final decision, while attorneys general from 16 states and the District of Columbia gear up potentially to block the merger independent of the DOJ’s decision. In addition, the California Public Utilities Commission is reviewing the merger, as the California Public Advocates Office and CWA oppose its approval.

Links:

Senators ask if Trump interfering in Sprint T-Mobile merger review (Reuters, June 5, 2019)

States may sue to block T-Mobile/Sprint merger (Kansas City Business Journal, Mar. 28, 2019)

Reply brief of Communications Workers of America District 9 (CWA. May 10, 2019)

California’s Public Advocates Office argues strongly against T-Mobile-Sprint merger (FierceWireless, Jan 24, 2019)