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Sanders to Justice Department: Block AT&T Purchase of Time Warner

Bernie Sanders called on the Department of Justice to block the purchase of AT&T and Time Warner on Wednesday.

The Hill reports:

The former Democratic presidential candidate sent a letter Wednesday to Renata Hesse, the acting assistant attorney general of DOJ’s antitrust division, warning that the proposed $85 billion sale of Time Warner to telecommunications behemoth AT&T would mean a “gross concentration of power.”

“This merger represents a gross concentration of power that runs counter to the public good and should be blocked,” Sanders wrote.

He said that he believes the sale, which must be approved by federal regulators, would lead to less diversity and news content, and could mean higher prices and fewer choices for consumers.

“The media and telecommunications landscape is changing. It is important that public policy concerns guide these changes, so that we may preserve our democratic discourse and open competitive markets for speech and commerce,” Sanders wrote in the letter.

“That is the function of antitrust laws,” he added. “I ask you to enforce them and block the merger.”

The deal has gotten pushback from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said the Judiciary Committee, which he oversees, would hold a hearing on the agreement “to examine the impact on competition and consumers.”

GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump took a hard line against the deal before it was announced, saying it would not be approved if he wins the White House.

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), the Democratic vice presidential nominee, separately told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that “pro-competition and less concentration, I think, is generally helpful, especially in the media.”

Asked about Kaine’s and Trump’s remarks, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson told the Hollywood Reporter they were “uninformed comments.”

Photo credit: Marc Nozell/Flickr.

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