AT&T Throws $1 Million to Lawmakers: Let us Have T-Mobile

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One hundred U.S. lawmakers have sent a letter to President Obama urging him to intervene and allow AT&T to acquire T-Mobile, according to The Washington Post on Wednesday. Ninety-nine of those lawmakers have received a total of almost US$1 million in political donations from AT&T since 2009.

AT&T is scrambling to save its US$39B acquisition and has told lawmakers, according to the Dallas News, that such a purchase with T-Mobile (in the U.S.) would improve the network and lower prices. Many are skeptical.

“An industry that was once a monopoly owned by AT&T in the last century is in danger of reverting to a duopoly in this new century,” said Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Justice Department, along with New York, California, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Washington are suing AT&T to block the acquisition.

According to Reuters on Tuesday, the U.S. DOJ, in a letter to House Energy Chairman Fred Upton, has declined to brief lawmakers on their stand regarding the purchase, declaring that the matter is under active litigation and expressed concern that the sharing of that information would create “the risk that the public and the courts will perceive undue political and Congressional influence over litigation decisions.”

While AT&T is entitled to lobby Congress for its direct interests, lawmakers are supposed to be looking out for their constituents first and foremost. It’s nice to see that other branches of the government, like the DOJ, are also taking up that task.

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10 Comments Leave Your Own

PorthosJon

I think you mean “According to Reuters on Tuesday, the U.S. DOJ, in a letter to House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, has declined…”

I was very confused for a couple of minutes that the Attorney General had been replaced by a Chairman.

xmattingly

Ladies and gentlemen, your elected lawmakers, bought and sold by corporate interest.

I’m curious how many of these yahoo’s are Democrat, and how many are Republican. And whether there are any who are backed by the Tea Party.

confused

Why would anyone put up such a fight for an also-ran like T-Mobile?

Why not let them go under, and pick up the useful pieces on auction?

Lee Dronick

Why not let them go under, and pick up the useful pieces on auction?

I am thinking that there is no guarantee that they would get any pieces.

Nemo

How is this any different from what most people would understand to be a bribe?  Well, lawyers are engineers too.  The assignment here is to make what is effectively a bribe a legal transaction.  How?  Well, one of the first things that a lawyers learns is that the more specific a rule is to specific circumstances, the easier it is to circumvent that rule.  If Congress had wished to effectively prevent bribes, it would have at least prohibited any member of Congress from taking any consideration for a matter that either came before him in Congress or that he can influence by exercise of his power as a member of Congress or that he takes a public position on and acts to on to get the Congress to pass legislation or influence either of the two branches of government.  And to prevent circumvention, Congress would have enacted such a rule in broad and categorical terms that embraced every type of payment to secure influence.  But instead Congress declare legislative bribery to be a precise quid pro quo, where a member of Congress receives money to do a specific thing that is within the scope of his legislative power. 

Well that is child’s play for any lawyer to circumvent.  Simply give the member a contribution to re-elect him, which is not consideration provided to do a specific thing, and you have perfectly effective yet legal bribe.  But everyone including the member understands that, if he doesn’t deliver, there not only won’t be any further “contributions,” but it is quite likely that his opponent in the next election may suddenly have sufficient funds to make a strong challenge, though no words to that effect are ever said.

Just as any good lawyer can circumvent the instant laws on legislative bribery, any good lawyer could make a rule that would effectively stop this type of bribery.  However, it might also be necessary overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s flawed decisions in the line of cases beginning with Bellotti and culminating with Citizens United

Whether the purpose and social effect of any engineer’s work, including lawyers, is good or evil depends on the morals of the engineer and of those who employ him.  Being a good lawyer only ensures that the work will be legal, not that it will serve a moral purpose.

ibuck

Sept. 21 (Bloomberg)—Representative Pete Olson and 99 fellow House Republicans signed a letter yesterday urging the Obama administration to resolve a government lawsuit and let AT&T Inc. buy T-Mobile USA.I

It’s funny when I hear people say the governments of OTHER countries are corrupt.

Time to break up AT&T again? How about cutting them in half and giving 25% to T-Mobile, 25% to Sprint? Make them all share the cell-phone towers? Then turn a jaundiced eye to Verizon and say “Who’s next?”

Terrin

Hmmmm. Let me see. Maybe because 1) T-Mobile is profitable so it isn’t going under anytime soon, and 2) like AT&T, T-Mobile only licenses the spectrum it uses. The license is non-transferable without government approval.

Why would anyone put up such a fight for an also-ran like T-Mobile?

Why not let them go under, and pick up the useful pieces on auction?

daemon

Deutsche Telekom also merged their T-mobile operation in the UK. Keep in mind, while DT get’s a cash payout, they also get AT&T stock and a position on the board.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Everything_Everywhere

Terrin

So, how does that benefit consumers? AT&T is asking for the transfer of T-Mobile’s wireless spectrum licensees (which the government owns) to be transferred to AT&T. The government is supposed to make sure the use of that spectrum is used to benefit consumers. AT&T has inadvertently admitted it can gain the same benefit by spending merely 6 billion to license additional spectrum. It has admitted it doesn’t need T-Mobile to accomplish that.

Accordingly, let AT&T spend 6 billion to obtain the spectrum it needs, and let T-Mobile 1) continue to operate, or 2) be sold to somebody else other then Verizon.

Deutsche Telekom also merged their T-mobile operation in the UK. Keep in mind, while DT get?s a cash payout, they also get AT&T stock and a position on the board.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Everything_Everywhere

daemon

So, how does that benefit consumers?

It doesn’t.

AT&T has inadvertently admitted it can gain the same benefit by spending merely 6 billion to license additional spectrum.

O.o

AT&T’s plans for expanding network coverage without buying T-mobile have nothing to do with AT&T “licensing additional spectrum”. To accomplish covering the additional population it merely requires AT&T to build the towers to service those areas using the spectrum AT&T already licenses.

The overlap of AT&T and T-mobile is significant, what AT&T gets out of buying T-mobile is an elimination of a significant competitor for subscribers and phones. It also would expand AT&T’s AWS spectrum, which they already own boats loads of and are not using (AT&T has decided LTE will be launced on their AWS spectrum, using their older AMPS spectrum for UMTS and PCS for GSM, AMPS was repurposed for GSM years ago and was repurposed for UMTS starting with the launch of the the iPhone 3G, which is ironic considering the amount of AWS AT&T had and that T-mobile launced UMTS on AWS, the only conclusion being that AT&T intentionally launched their UMTS service on bands that T-mobile phones would be unable to utilized, allowing for locking in customers). T-mobile is the network that is the most spectrum poor of the four major carriers, but even that defiecency can be overcome by building more towers.

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