Tags: lee zeldin | doj | case | at&t | time warner | acquisition

Rep. Zeldin: DOJ May Not Have Strong Enough Case Against AT&T


By    |   Tuesday, 21 November 2017 02:48 PM

The Department of Justice, which sued AT&T Inc. Monday to block its $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner Inc., may not have a strong enough case, Rep. Lee Zeldin said Tuesday.

"There are people who work in the Department of Justice who know the laws, they state all the case law and they might be a whole lot smarter than I am on this," the New York Republican told Fox Business' Maria Bartiromo. 

"From my vantage point, I don't know if they have a strong enough case to succeed here."

The merger, Zeldin said, appears to be "an okay merger as far as the laws go," but he admitted the DOJ may be seeing things that he isn't.

Justice said in its lawsuit that the merger could end up raising prices for rivals and pay-TV subscribers, but hamper development of online video.

The case is the first merger challenge from President Donald Trump's administration.

Trump, though, has often criticized Time Warner's CNN news reporting as "fake news" and said before he was elected that he would oppose the deal, as it would give AT&T too much power.

Time Warner is based in New York, and Zeldin said that could mean layoffs for some of his constituents if the merger happens.

"I would say that whenever you have a merger like this, you're going to find inefficiencies," he said. "There will be some less of a need to have as big of an operation on certain aspects. I think that happens every time you see one of these mergers. That's certainly a possibility. I would expect every time you see a merger this big."

Zeldin also discussed the House tax reform bill, saying that he, like other lawmakers from high tax states, voted against it.

"There were 13 of us who voted no," said Zeldin, but he said he'd love to be able to vote for a final bill coming out of conference.

"I have some middle income constituents struggling to make ends meet," he said. "Half my district itemizes. Some might be in 39.6 percent bracket with past due rules, for some of them the largest itemization might be state and local taxes."

It was progress on the House bill, Zeldin added, when a $10,000 property deduction cap was added to the bill, and he thinks there are good aspects to both the House and Senate versions of the legislation.

He did agree with Bartiromo that people may start leaving high-tax states like his own to go to other states where income is not taxed, like in Florida.

"People are becoming more mobile," said Zeldin. "When you extend a millionaire's tax, or in New York City, when they add their income tax to the state income tax, you now have an income tax rate in NYC second highest to only California . . . some say paying taxes is patriotic. Then, New York has one of the most patriotic states in the entire country, based on the size of our tax rate."

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The Department of Justice, which sued AT&T Inc. Monday to block its $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner Inc., may not have a strong enough case, Rep. Lee Zeldin said Tuesday.
lee zeldin, doj, case, at&t, time warner, acquisition
Tuesday, 21 November 2017 02:48 PM
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