Justice Department Won’t Tell Lawmakers Why It Opposes AT&T Deal, AT&T Gears Up For Round 2

While AT&T, DT and the Justice Department are all expected in court for a pre-trial scheduling conference today, Reuters is reporting that the Justice Department has decided it doesn’t need to explain its decision to bring a lawsuit forward to stop the AT&T/T-Mobile deal. In a letter sent Monday to House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fed Upton, the Department of Justice said it could not disclose non-public information while the matter is in active litigation.

Sharing information outside of the judicial process creates “the risk that the public and the courts will perceive undue political and Congressional influence over litigation decisions,” Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich said in the letter.

However, the Justice Department did explain in its letter that it has considered the benefits of the deal as explained by AT&T and T-Mobile but that those benefits did not outweigh the negative impact this deal could have on consumers, the market and competition.

“Moreover, the Department observed that AT&T could obtain substantially the same network enhancements that it claims will come from the transaction if it simply invested in its own network without eliminating a close competitor,” the letter said.

During today’s pre-trial scheduling conference AT&T will ask for an expedited trial while the DOJ wants a hearing during Spring of 2012.

While AT&T has certainly suffered setbacks most analysts agree that the deal is hardly dead for AT&T. According to The Washington Post the company has spent over $11 million dollars in the first six months of 2011 lobbying employing 99 lobbyists. AT&T launched an advertising blitz this week in Washington newspapers that explained the benefits of this deal and calling out Sprint directly for its anti-competitive stance on the deal.

“AT&T has so many tools at their disposal to try to make their voice heard,” said Michael Beckel, a spokesman for the Center for Responsive Politics. “We still see AT&T fighting hard and bringing a lot of their resources to their merger fight.”

Reuters, Washington Post

 

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  • IT Guy

    It’s fascinating to watch this process unfold. Would be more so if so many peoples’ livelihood (and to a lesser extent cell service) weren’t at stake.

    • http://twitter.com/jeux999 Daner Doodle

      exactly.

    • Daniel7992

      You people are over looking one glaring fact. DT is the one who put the company up for sale. ATT is not forcing tmobile to sale their company. This is not a merger as most people refer to as such. Take a moment to consider what will happen to tmobile if this deal does not happen. The future is not very bright for the Tmobile USA. Sprint would like them to stick around so they can stay out of last place. Once again tmobile wants to sale, remember that.

      • Auser72

        No one is overlooking the glaring fact that DT wants to sell TmobileUS. The people in here and the DOJ are concern with whom DT sells the TMobile US to, and how it will the affect competition,Innovation, and overall wireless market for the U.S. consumer. Corporations, and ATT in particular  dont always act in the best interest of the consumer(S&L scandal,2008 market meltdown), and its necesarry at times for goverment to step in and regulate.

      • Tbyrne

        It’s “they want to sell”. The future is very much bright for T-Mobile! If you’d take a second and take your head out your as_, you’ll see more clearly what you’re talking about!

      • Tbyrne

        It’s “they want to sell”. The future is very much bright for T-Mobile! If you’d take a second and take your head out your as_, you’ll see more clearly what you’re talking about!

  • Nearmsp

    AT&T is the crowning glory of the massive corruption in the US. US has continued to fall in the world rankings in the index of corruption by transparency international thanks to our highly corrupt political system. US is not even in the top 20 least corrupt countries. 100 congressmen sent a note on behalf of AT&T. These congressmen fear more for the loss of money from AT&T than the votes of their “informed” constituents. Many countries such as Australia fund elections because it is far less cheaper for the citizens. With the cash for special loopholes and pork, companies such as AT&T find investing on the hill is better than investing in infrastructure and customer service. Becoming a monopoly through corruption can pay rich dividends. 

    • Jim

      I love how you stick to AT&T. Let me guess, a Verizon employee or something?  You could leave AT&T out of the whole paragraph to make the same point. Bias? You just became irrelevant.

      • D-Rock

        I would think he is sticking to AT&T because it is applicable to the story we are reading and commenting on…

        In the famous words of Sean Connery… Suck it AT&T.

        • Respawn

          Haha! Classic reference there too. Made my day.

        • Respawn

          Haha! Classic reference there too. Made my day.

      • Nearmsp

        So all you could do rebut anything I say was to cast aspersions on my motive. No, I am not a Verizon employee. I have been a T-mobile customer for 8 years, before that was with AT&T. I am also a shareholder of AT&T (T) and also hold American Depository Shares of DT. Now coming back to your question why I am targeting AT&T. It is the largest contributor ($11.6 million to date) on the hill with the largest number of Lobbyists (99!). Now can we have some facts from you rather than questioning my motives?

        • Tbyrne

          Shareholder in at@t? I guess that about sums it up!

  • Tito!

    Looks like the US DOJ are being smart, & will stand there ground.
    Analyst? Can we just say at this point, their confidence is a bit irrelevant and coincidental. They are the branch for AT&T’s PR on this matter, of course they’d say AT&T’s has a chance.

    I say, the DOJ really doesn’t want to see a competitor (like T-Mobile) go, because it’s absurd. They don’t need to. Like stated, they’ve been a maverick in this industry. & they still can be, with or without AT&T’s Bitch, Apple’s iPhone.

    :)

  • http://cosmicbreeze.tumblr.com/ DtheArtist

    Spending all this “Excessive” money to try & get the deal to go through, but can’t use that same money & dedication on the progression of it’s own network. That really say’s something.

    • souggie

      Real talk, those are the actions of a lazy and greedy person right there, don’t want to do any work, but want to real all the benefits of another company’s hard work. AT&T can kiss the deepest part of my crack!

      • souggie

        Reap

  • Anonymous

    “AT&T could obtain substantially the same network enhancements that it claims will come from the transaction if it simply invested in its own network without eliminating a close competitor”

    Case closed.

  • Anonymous

    how can u sue someone, but not say why? i mean we all know why, but this could backfire on the doj

    • jon

      The DOJ not doesn’t have to grant congress its request for a hearing, they absolutely shouldn’t. The legislative branch has zero control over the judicial branch. Congress only wants to speak with the doj to try to antimidate them into allowing this merger to go through. I say, “Good for you doj”…
      Let’s also not forget this is a prosecution of a crime. The doj is suing on the grounds that this violates anti-trust laws. They shouldn’t talk to ANYONE regarding the case. If they did, it could cause them to jeopardize their case…

    • Tito!

      As in the case disclosed. Read the print in quotations, idiot.

      • jon

        No need to call names..maybe he misread it..chill brother.

        • http://tmonews.com David

          Absolutely, no need for name calling.

    • ogopogo

      They have said why – the problem is that whenever they state something, AT&T runs off to pay someone to head it off. by saying anything at this point will help AT&T arm themselves with new lies when the trial happens.

      • jon

        It has less to do with that and more to do with separation of powers. Govt 101…the 3 branches of our govt are separate and no one branch has power of the other. The legislative branch (congress) is trying to punk the judicial branch (the doj) and the doj gave them the “finger” and said “you, congress, have no say in the judicial process. Go get bent!”

        • Anonymous

          one correction, doj is executive.  it is run by eric holder, who is a member of the presidential cabinet.

    • Flashy4bb

      you need to read and listen more. don’t be like those stupid and greedy politicians

    • Nearmsp

      All they need to say for now, is that the Justice department believes that this acquisition will lead to LESS competition and HIGHER prices for consumers. That is the anti-trust law of the USA. 

  • Ex-SKLX09-User

    “..(AT&T) has spent over $11 million dollars in the first six months of 2011 lobbying employing 99 lobbyists.”translation: At&t has spent $11 million to bribe 99 greedy politicians.

  • Robert

    So much for transparency in this administration.

    • TruthBEtold

      Transparency? what are you 12? This is a legal matter, no one takes someone to court and before the trial even starts says, “hey, here’s what we’re suing for and why”. That’s not how it works, now these congressmen/women who have been paid off to write this letter can kick and scream all they want but the reality still exist. Name one merger or buyout that has ever created jobs and I will shake your hand….

    • TruthBEtold

      Transparency? what are you 12? This is a legal matter, no one takes someone to court and before the trial even starts says, “hey, here’s what we’re suing for and why”. That’s not how it works, now these congressmen/women who have been paid off to write this letter can kick and scream all they want but the reality still exist. Name one merger or buyout that has ever created jobs and I will shake your hand….

    • TruthBEtold

      Transparency? what are you 12? This is a legal matter, no one takes someone to court and before the trial even starts says, “hey, here’s what we’re suing for and why”. That’s not how it works, now these congressmen/women who have been paid off to write this letter can kick and scream all they want but the reality still exist. Name one merger or buyout that has ever created jobs and I will shake your hand….

    • ItsMichaelNotMike

      LOL that does not even make sense.  Did you copy and paste that from other sites?

  • DetroitTechnoFan

    Love that picture, David!

  • Guest

    Amen DOJ…

  • Alex wardlaw

    If I ran congress I would post a HUGE sign in front of ALL entrances to the Capital….LOBBIEST WILL BE SHOT ON SIGHT..NO WARNING SHOTS WILL BE FIRED…

  • Alex wardlaw

    If I ran congress I would post a HUGE sign in front of ALL entrances to the Capital….LOBBIEST WILL BE SHOT ON SIGHT..NO WARNING SHOTS WILL BE FIRED…

    • Spanky

      “Lobbyists”

    • Spanky

      “Lobbyists”

    • Spanky

      “Lobbyists”

  • TruthBEtold

    This is about Jobs, you know the thing WE as Americans can’t afford to loss anymore of, not your inconvenience and where you chose to live. Monopolies and cornering the market is ILLEGAL. They are trying to preserve competition as they should…

    • AnonGuy

      Look at what’s happening to T-Mobile.  If you care about Jobs, then you need to take into account all of the variables.

  • Anonymous

    Anyone know if today’s hearing is public, or do we have to wait to read about it?

    • ItsMichaelNotMike

      It’s a routine hearing for case management.  Nothing is going to happen that’s newsworthy and I think it silly that some blogs have made something of the proceeding.

      These are usually in open court and a bum off the street could attend if he wanted.

      Some media might cover it, but the savvy reporters won’t bother with it since the conference is uneventful.

      I guess some could spin the hearing into a dramatic event such as “JUDGE ORDERS A TRIAL DATE!” or “PARTIES DID NOT SETTLE CASE AT MEETING” but that just shows how naive and moronic some bloggers are.

    • ItsMichaelNotMike

      It’s a routine hearing for case management.  Nothing is going to happen that’s newsworthy and I think it silly that some blogs have made something of the proceeding.

      These are usually in open court and a bum off the street could attend if he wanted.

      Some media might cover it, but the savvy reporters won’t bother with it since the conference is uneventful.

      I guess some could spin the hearing into a dramatic event such as “JUDGE ORDERS A TRIAL DATE!” or “PARTIES DID NOT SETTLE CASE AT MEETING” but that just shows how naive and moronic some bloggers are.

      • http://tmonews.com David

        I think most blogs/news organizations are covering it because they see the date as a possible factor for how AT&T will scramble or not scramble to reach a settlement. A later date is being described as lowering AT&T’s chance that this deal won’t go through as analysts see the deal losing its luster as organizations against the deal continue to rally their troops.

        An early day provides AT&T an opportunity to ram a deal home.

    • ItsMichaelNotMike

      It’s a routine hearing for case management.  Nothing is going to happen that’s newsworthy and I think it silly that some blogs have made something of the proceeding.

      These are usually in open court and a bum off the street could attend if he wanted.

      Some media might cover it, but the savvy reporters won’t bother with it since the conference is uneventful.

      I guess some could spin the hearing into a dramatic event such as “JUDGE ORDERS A TRIAL DATE!” or “PARTIES DID NOT SETTLE CASE AT MEETING” but that just shows how naive and moronic some bloggers are.

    • ItsMichaelNotMike

      It’s a routine hearing for case management.  Nothing is going to happen that’s newsworthy and I think it silly that some blogs have made something of the proceeding.

      These are usually in open court and a bum off the street could attend if he wanted.

      Some media might cover it, but the savvy reporters won’t bother with it since the conference is uneventful.

      I guess some could spin the hearing into a dramatic event such as “JUDGE ORDERS A TRIAL DATE!” or “PARTIES DID NOT SETTLE CASE AT MEETING” but that just shows how naive and moronic some bloggers are.

  • Tbyrne

    Well then drop them already! You probably are already are with at&t. Fanboys never give up!

    • AnonGuy

      Uhhh…  No.  Cause if I was already with AT&T, I wouldn’t give a shit if T-Mobile imploded and ceased to exist.  Your fanboy comment makes absolutely no sense, BTW.

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