While Congress and the Department of Justice are questioning the T-Mobile and AT&T merger, Deutsche Telekom, T-Mobile's parent company has been working on a behind the scene lobbying campaign, contacting key opponents to the deal in the last few months, reports filed under the Foreign Agents Registration Act show.
Deutsche Telekom, looking to sell T-Mobile to AT&T creating a mammoth corporation making up a large chunk of the U.S. wireless market, has spent $4.3 million in the last six months to lobby and maintain a staff in the U.S., six monthly reports filed with the Department of Justice show. In the last couple of years the company has consistently spent approximately $10 million each year, according to FARA records.
To promote their interests in the U.S., Deutsche Telekom employees strategically attended events where powerful members of Congress, officials from the Federal Communications Commission, and the State Department were present.
In April, Deutsche Telekom filed an application with the FCC and since that application, employees of the German company attended events that featured FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, and FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell. Genachowiski has publicly questioned the competitiveness of the merger and has called for an administrative hearing on the deal. The DOJ blocked the $39 billion merger saying that it would violate antitrust laws and "substantially lessen competition" leaving little recourse other than a court battle for AT&T.
Employees of Deutsche Telekom targeted conferences with Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., two powerful Democrats. They also attended events that featured eight other Congress members. Chairman of the Commerce Committee, Sen. John Rockefeller, D-W.Va., one of the lawmakers at an event, urged regulators to ensure continued competition and choice for consumers.
Deutsche Telekom employees attended an event featuring Ambassador Philip L. Verveer, who serves as the U.S. Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy. Events highlighting State Department officials Alan Yu and Greg Maggio were also targeted by Deutsche Telekom employees.
Deutsche Telekom does not appear on congressional lobbying records, filed with the House and Senate, although T-Mobile, their subsidiary does, spending $2.7 million lobbying so far this year while AT&T has spent $15.9 million.
Deutsche Telekom first registered with FARA in 1990, and they reported spending $5.7 million promoting their business interests in 2010.