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Senate Confirms Delrahim As Antitrust Chief

The Senate Wednesday (Sept. 27) voted 73 to 21 to confirm Makan Delrahim to be assistant attorney general and head of the Justice Department's antitrust division.

As such he will oversee Justice antitrust reviews of communications mergers, including the wrapping up of the review of AT&T/Time Warner Cable, which is not getting a separate FCC review.

Most recently, Delrahim was deputy assistant and deputy counsel to the President, joining the Administration in January from a Los Angeles law firm, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, whose clients have included Comcast, NCTA: The Television & Internet Association and Dell, among many others.

He is also former deputy assistant attorney general at Justice during the last Republican Administration (2003-2005).

Scott Cleland, who heads up the Internet service provider-backed group Net Competition, has said Delrahim can be expected to be “a traditional Republican antitrust enforcer, with a constitutional conservative approach to the law,” plus “a whole lot more clout than any traditional DOJ Antitrust chief.”

There has been some speculation about how the President views mergers and how that might differ from a traditional Republican. The President was critical of the AT&T-Time Warner deal as a candidate, and has taken aim at other parent companies of news outlets he disagrees with.

A planned earlier vote on Delrahim's nomination was delayed until after the August recess after Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) reportedly put a hold on the nomination.

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.