DOJ Enforces Antitrust Law on AT&T Takeover – Despite Political Pressure

BY Heather Greenfield
September 15, 2011

The Department of Justice’s decision to block AT&T’s takeover of its competitor T-Mobile came as no surprise to antitrust experts, as our CEO said in a Huffington Post column, it was a “no brainer.”

But still, the lawsuit was reassuring to those who have  spent enough time in Washington to know that sometimes the good of the many can be trumped by the louder , politically well connected voice of one company or special interest.

CCIA commended the DOJ in a Washington Times op ed this week for standing in the face of political pressure and blocking this merger. In the end DOJ sorted through conflicting information and determined this merger would cost jobs in the short run and innovation in the long run. Again, not really news. When has a merger ever really resulted in job increases?

But the attempts to make politics trump the law keep coming…

The news today that 14 Democrats have sent a letter to President Obama to pressure DOJ to not enforce our antitrust laws and just give AT&T approval to turn the wireless sector into a duopoly is a little puzzling.

It seems like if you want an independent agency to compromise on law enforcement, it would compiling influence problems on top of legal issues to have the executive branch make the questionable request.

News reports explain fairly well that DOJ was willing to consider other proposals from AT&T — and would only block proposals that violate antitrust law like this one.

It just seems odd  that in an era of too big to fail companies, some members of Congress would intervene to ask that we ignore the rules designed to protect consumers, industry and our economy — so that one company (with a history of abusing its market power) could get bigger.

Related Articles

CCIA Reacts To European Parliament’s Digital Markets Act and Digital Services Act Reports

Jun 4, 2021

Brussels, BELGIUM — Two Members of the European Parliament have published their draft reports on respectively the Digital Markets Act (DMA) and on the Digital Services Act (DSA) proposals. The European Commission originally presented its legislative proposals in December 2020, which will now be discussed and amended by the European Parliament and the Council of…

CCIA Joins Industry Statement on the Need for Regulatory Dialogue in the Proposed Digital Markets Act

May 26, 2021

Brussels, BELGIUM – The Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) has joined other industry associations in a joint statement on the Digital Markets Act ahead of the EU ministers’ meeting on May 27-28. The statement urges ministers to strengthen and foster a true “regulatory dialogue”. This envisioned participatory approach to intervention should replace suspicion and…