Franken Queries Lynch On Comcast/TWC

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) used a portion of his time questioning Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch this week to argue against the Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger and get assurances DOJ would do its due diligence on the deal.

In her nomination hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee, Franken said he was "very concerned" about telecom consolidation, particularly Comcast/TWC's consolidation. He argued the combined company would have unprecedented power in the broadband and cable spaces. "To me this is just too big," he said.

He asked Lynch to "commit to reviewing the serious concerns" he and others have about the deal and to "do all you can to insure that the antitrust division is empowered to stand up to telecommunications giants like Comcast if that is what is deemed necessary?"

Lynch said yes, which was arguably the only answer the nominee could have given.

"Certainly Senator," Lynch responded. "The antitrust division plays an extremely important role in keeping our marketplace competitive and open for everyone and I look forward to learning more about this case to review those issues and to working with you to make sure that all the concerns about this are brought to your attention so that they can be dealt with by the antitrust division."

"Okay, then I'll probably vote for you," Franken joked, having already confirmed he was a supporter.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.