October 12, 2017

Warren Calls on DOJ Antitrust Division Leader to Recuse Himself from AT&T-Time Warner Merger Decision

Cites Concerns About Assistant AG Makan Delrahim's Previous Comments on the Deal

Text of the letter (PDF)

Washington, DC - United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) today urged Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust Makan Delrahim to recuse himself from matters related to the proposed merger between AT&T and Time Warner, which is currently being reviewed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) Antitrust Division. During Mr. Delrahim's confirmation process to lead the division, he would not commit to recusal, despite his previous statement that the merger did not pose a "major antitrust problem."

"I am concerned both by your comment about the merger, which implies an underappreciation of the impact of a merger of that size on the media market, and your refusal to recuse yourself from the case despite the fact that, prior to taking office, you appeared to have reached and publicly stated a conclusion about the matter," wrote Senator Warren. "Your refusal to recuse yourself will undermine public confidence in the Division's ability to reach an unbiased final decision in the matter."

The senator raised a number of concerns about the proposed merger, which would combine one of the nation's largest content providers with the country's largest pay-TV provider. The merger would result in a gigantic media entity capable of destroying competition in the entertainment industry, and could result in higher bills and reduced programming options for American households.

"A merger of AT&T and Time Warner would have an enormous impact on the media and entertainment industry, and the American public deserves to know that the Division has not prejudged this matter," the senator continued. "That cannot happen if you are involved in the case. I therefore urge you to recuse yourself from consideration of the merger."