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US: Report says politics to blame for airline mega-mergers

 |  October 11, 2016

The airline industry’s merger mania period may jump back into the spotlight this week after a report out Tuesday by ProPublica.

The non-profit news organization puts it spotlight on the American-US Airways merger that closed in 2013, taking a closer look at the Justice Department’s role in the deal. Justice originally sued to halt the deal, though it eventually allowed the merger to proceed after winning concessions from the merging airlines.

ProPublica takes a look at the politics that it contends were going on behind the scenes as pro- and anti-merger forces each tried to rally support to their own sides.

ProPublica writes:

“The Justice Department’s abrupt reversal came after the airlines tapped former Obama administration officials and other well-connected Democrats to launch an intense lobbying campaign, the full extent of which has never been reported.”

“They used their pull in the administration, including at the White House, and with a high-level friend at the Justice Department, going over the heads of staff prosecutors. And just days after the suit was announced, the airlines turned to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s first White House chief of staff, to help push back against the Justice Department.”

ProPublica goes on with an in-depth look about the political wrangling it says happened behind the scenes. The outlet suggests opponents of the merger faced great pressure in trying to block the deal.

Full Content: USA Today

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