AT&T confirmed Tuesday that it paid a total of $200,000 for “insights” on President Donald Trump’s administration to his personal lawyer Michael Cohen.
The telecommunications giant “was one of several firms we engaged in early 2017 to provide insights into understanding the new administration,” it said, CNBC reported.
AT&T paid Cohen in four separate installments of $50,000 beginning in 2017 to early 2018, according to CNBC.
One user on Twitter tagged AT&T in a tweet, and accused the company of “pay-to-play.” AT&T’s Twitter account replied, “Can you please tell us more about what you mean by pay to play?”
AT&T’s Twitter handle seems to be an automated bot, according to an article published by Splinter detailing the unusual responses it has sent to Twitter users.
AT&T is the world’s largest telecommunications company and the second largest provider of mobile phone services in the U.S. The Department of Justice blocked AT&T’s $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner in November.
“This merger would greatly harm American consumers,” said Makan Delrahim, the assistant attorney general for antitrust at the Department of Justice, in a statement. “It would mean higher monthly television bills and fewer of the new, emerging innovative options that consumers are beginning to enjoy.”
The payments were to Essential Consultants, a company owned by Cohen. “They did no legal or lobbying work for us, and the contract ended in December 2017,” AT&T said.
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