March 05, 2019

Warren, Jayapal Release T-Mobile Responses to Their Inquiry About Trump International Hotel Patronage

T-Mobile reports spending $195K at the Trump International Hotel as Trump Administration weighs T-Mobile-Sprint merger

Response Letters from T-Mobile (PDF)

Washington, DC - United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) today released T-Mobile's responses to their February 6, 2019 letter inquiring about reports that T-Mobile executives started to regularly patronize President Trump's hotel in Washington D.C. immediately after announcing a proposed merger with its rival, Sprint, and asking T-Mobile to share the amount spent at the Trump property between April 2018, when the proposed merger was announced, and the present.

In response to their letter, T-Mobile Vice President for Federal Legislative Affairs Anthony Russo wrote "As best as we have been able to determine, the total amount spent by all T- Mobile employees, including Mr. Legere and his leadership team, for all expenses for stays or meetings at the Trump International Hotel in Washington between April 2018 and the present is approximately $195,000."

Senator Warren and Representative Jayapal released a joint statement today in response: "The American people deserve better than an administration that appears to be for sale to businesses eager to line the President's pockets."

The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are currently reviewing the $26 billion merger deal, which would create a new telecommunications giant with more than 100 million subscribers. The two companies attempted to merge in 2014, but abandoned the deal amid concerns that it would not be approved by federal regulators.

The transactions between T-Mobile officials and the Trump Organization raise questions about whether T-Mobile is attempting to curry favor with the President, who has not fully divested from his financial interests, via their numerous and expensive stays in the Trump Hotel.

In their initial letter to John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile, the lawmakers wrote, "The decision to stay at the Trump Hotel appears to be unusual for several reasons.  Your stay began one day after the merger announcement.  You had a particularly high profile during your stay, walking the lobby in an outfit described as 'a walking billboard for T-Mobile,' posing for Instagram pictures, and, during a later stay, meeting in the lobby with former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski."

"You also chose to stay at the Trump International Hotel in 2018 despite a 'public spat' in 2015 in which you complained about the service at a Trump hotel in New York and then announced that 'I will obviously leave your hotel right away' and mocked the hotel after Donald Trump said your company's service was 'terrible,'" they continued.

Senator Warren's and Rep. Jayapal's Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity Act would eliminate the ability of companies like T-Mobile to buy special favors by requiring the President of the United States to divest from all business interests, and by requiring other senior government officials to divest privately-owned assets that could present conflicts of interest, including their ownership of large companies and commercial real estate.