Comcast and the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division snuggled up in the weeks before Comcast’s announcement of its merger with fellow cable company Time Warner.
According to the emails acquired by MuckRock through a Freedom of Information Act request, Comcast’s senior vice president of regulatory and state legislative affairs Kathryn Zachem invited the DOJ’s deputy assistant attorney general Renata Hesse to a private Comcast party celebrating the opening ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in January.
Hesse declined the invitation, stating that the “rules folks” told her she was not allowed. She went on to describe the department’s ethics rules as “very restrictive.” However, she then invited Zachem to dinner.
Hesse is one of the department’s top antitrust lawyers, and the invitation came just weeks before Comcast announced its intended merger, which would have to be reviewed by the DOJ.
Although these interactions break no laws, the timing of Comcast’s friendly overtures toward the DOJ is suspicious due to the need for the department’s approval of the merger with Time Warner soon after.
Neither Hesse nor Comcast responded to The Daily Caller’s request for comment.
The full text of the documents obtained by MuckRock can be viewed here.