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

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.