Democrats Press T-Mobile About Executives' Stays at Trump Hotel

(Bloomberg) -- Congressional Democrats are seeking answers about a report that T-Mobile US Inc. executives regularly stayed at President Donald Trump’s hotel in Washington while they were pursuing regulatory approval for a $26.5 billion Sprint Corp. merger.

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts senator and Representative Pramila Jayapal of Washington State, sent letters this week seeking information from the Trump Organization and T-Mobile Chief Executive Officer John Legere. A central question: Did T-Mobile executives patronize Trump properties as part of a bid to get clearance for their Sprint deal?

Democrats Press T-Mobile About Executives' Stays at Trump Hotel

The Washington Post reported that T-Mobile executives booked at least 52 nights at the Trump hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue since last year, citing records obtained from the hotel. T-Mobile, based in Bellevue, Washington, declined to comment. Representatives of the Trump Organization couldn’t immediately respond be reached for comment.

Competition Question

“These transactions raise questions about whether T-Mobile is attempting to curry favor with the president through the Trump Organization and exacerbate our concerns about the president’s continued financial relationship with the Trump Organization,” Warren and Jayapal said in the letter to Legere. They asked for information about who stayed at the hotel and whether executives met with members of Trump’s family or Corey Lewandowski, a former campaign manager.

T-Mobile’s takeover of Sprint would reduce the number of major wireless carriers from four to three, raising concerns that it will hurt competition. An earlier merger attempt was abandoned in 2014 after the companies concluded it wouldn’t get regulatory approval, Warren and Jayapal note in their letter.

The two carriers still expect the deal to be completed in the first half of this year, but they need approval from the Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department’s antitrust division. The transaction already won national security approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. -- a hurdle that was necessary because both parties have foreign backers.

The president owns the hotel through his trust, which holds all of his business interests, and ultimately profits from it. Since his election, has become a magnet for high-powered Republicans in Washington, as well as representatives of foreign governments and others.

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