Menendez asked US attorney general to delay a merger opposed by one of his donors

Patrick Howley Political Reporter
Font Size:

Democratic New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez once wrote a letter to the U.S. Attorney General requesting postponement of a corporate merger opposed by one of his major campaign donors.

Then-congressman Menendez and two House colleagues wrote a letter in 2002 to then-Attorney General John Ashcroft urging delay of a merger between Univision and Hispanic Broadcasting Corp., according to Bloomberg.

Menendez and colleagues urged Ashcroft to withhold his approval of the merger “until a complete review of the merger can be done.” Menendez later testified in 2003 that the merger would “create unacceptable market power in Spanish-language media.”

Spanish Broadcasting System, in which Menendez owned between $1,000 and $15,000 in stock in 2002, also opposed the merger, which was eventually approved by both the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission.

Spanish Broadcasting System employees and their families have contributed $113,700 to Menendez’s campaigns  during his political career and $38,000 to his leadership PAC.

“Senator Menendez — and many others — opposed the Univision-HBC merger because he has long believed media consolidations can lead to the shrinking of community voices, and his investment in SBS, which was fully disclosed publicly at the time, had nothing to do with that position,” Menendez spokeswoman Tricia Enright told Bloomberg.

Follow Patrick on Twitter