Restore Public Trust to file FOIA to DOJ’s anti-trust division for any White House collaboration
WASHINGTON – Today, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced an agreement on a $26 billion merger between T-Mobile and Sprint, raising questions about the White House’s involvement in the decision given Trump’s connections to Masayoshi Son, the businessman who founded and runs the company that owns Sprint.
But that’s not all. The Washington Post previously reported that a day after this merger was proposed, nine T-Mobile executives checked into Donald Trump’s Washington, DC hotel. Over the next few months, T-Mobile spent nearly $200,000 there.
“Today’s approval of multi-billion dollar merger between two of the largest telecommunications companies is about as swampy as they come, raising serious questions about the connections between the White House and this merger,” said Lizzy Price, Director of Restore Public Trust. “Was the administration involved in what is supposed to be an impartial decision? Were there any secret deals? Kickbacks?
“Masayoshi Son himself admitted that Trump was one of his best friends and bragged about his relationship with Trump on an earnings call. Congress can’t turn a blind eye to the links between President Trump and this multi-billion dollar merger. We certainly won’t.”
Following the news, accountability group Restore Public Trust filed a Freedom of Information Act request to the DOJ’s anti-trust division for any communications with White House email addresses.
MASAYOSHI SON RAN THE COMPANY THAT OWNED SPRINT
Masayoshi Son Founded And Ran SoftBank, Which Owned Sprint. Masayoshi Son founded and runs SoftBank, a mobile telecom and investment firm with $81 billion in 2017 revenue. […] SoftBank acquired struggling U.S. mobile phone carrier Sprint Nextel for $22 billion in 2013. [Forbes, 5/21/19]
TRUMP HAS APPEARED AND BEEN PHOTOGRAPHED WITH SON MULTIPLE TIMES OVER LAST THREE YEARS
May 26, 2019: President Trump Met With Masayoshi Son In Japan As Trump Praised Son’s Investments In The United States. “U.S. President Donald Trump met with roughly 30 prominent Japanese business leaders here Saturday, including SoftBank Group Chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son and Toyota Motor President Akio Toyoda. Trump arrived a little after 6 p.m., greeted with a standing applause from the other attendees. He then shook hands with Son, who was standing right in front of him. In his speech, Trump introduced SoftBank’s investments in the U.S. Son’s right hand shot up at the mention, responding with: ‘more!’ The president thanked Toyota and auto parts maker Denso for their U.S. investments as well.” [Nikkei Asian Review, 5/26/19]
- May 26, 2019: Donald Trump Was Photographed With Masayoshi Son. “U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with SoftBank Group Chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son at a reception with Japanese business leaders at the American embassy in Tokyo. Trump praised Son’s investments in the U.S.” [Nikkei Asian Review, 5/26/19]
June 28, 2018: Masayoshi Son And Donald Trump Appeared On-Stage Together At The Groundbreaking For Foxconn’s Wisconsin Plant In Mt. Pleasant, Wisconsin. “President Donald Trump (L) and Masayoshi Son, founder and chief executive officer of SoftBank, participate in a groundbreaking ceremony for the $10 billion Foxconn factory complex on June 28, 2018 in Mt. Pleasant, Wisconsin. Foxconn, a Taiwanese electronics manufacturer that currently builds Apple iPhones, Amazon Kindles and Echo Dots at their factories in China will manufacture LCD screens at the Wisconsin facility. The facility is expected to create 13,000 jobs.” [Zimbio, 6/27/18]
- At The Groundbreaking Event, President Trump Highlighted Son’s Investments In The United States. “U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday SoftBank Group Corp (9984.T) Chief Executive Masayoshi Son is increasing his investment in the United States to $72 billion, significantly more than the $50 billion he had previously pledged. ‘His $50 billion turned out to be $72 billion so far, he’s not finished yet,’ Trump said, without providing details. Trump’s comments came at a groundbreaking ceremony in Wisconsin for a manufacturing facility for Foxconn, the world’s largest electronics contract manufacturer, attended by Son and Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou.” [Reuters, 6/28/18]
December 6, 2016: Masayoshi Son Met With Donald Trump At Trump Tower. “Masayoshi Son, the brash billionaire who controls Sprint Corp., said Tuesday he would invest $50 billion in the U.S. and create 50,000 new jobs, following a 45-minute private meeting with President-elect Donald Trump. The telecom mogul, who made his fortune in Japan with SoftBank GroupCorp., announced his investment plans in the lobby of Trump Tower, though he didn’t provide details. Mr. Trump took credit for the investment, saying his November victory spurred SoftBank’s decision.” [Wall Street Journal, 12/7/16]
- While At Trump Tower, Masayoshi Son Promised That SoftBank Would Provide $50 Billion In Investments In US Companies And Create 50,000 Jobs. “In December 2016 at Trump Tower, Son promised that SoftBank would lead $50 billion in investments in U.S. companies and create 50,000 jobs.” [Forbes, 5/21/19]
- Sprint Stock Rose Following Masayoshi Son’s Meeting With Trump At Trump Tower And Was Attributed To Wall Street’s Belief The Meeting Was An Attempt To Ensure Trump Would Look Favorably On Sprint’s Planned Acquisition Of T-Mobile. “One month ago, the Japanese billionaire Masayoshi Son, the chief executive of SoftBank, crossed the lobby of Trump Tower and put his arm around the new U.S. president-elect. Shares in Sprint, the U.S. telecom company that is controlled by SoftBank, surged 10 percent that day and the next, creating a windfall worth $3.3 billion for Sprint’s shareholders. Sprint’s stock price spiked on Wall Street’s belief that the meeting was an attempt to ensure that Donald Trump will look favorably on Son’s plans for expansion in the United States, analysts say, especially Sprint’s potential acquisition of T-Mobile. When SoftBank bought Sprint in 2013, Son was clear about his ambition to merge Sprint and T-Mobile to create a strong third mobile carrier that could compete with AT&T and Verizon.” [Washington Post, 1/10/17]
SON TOUTED HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH TRUMP ON AN EARNINGS CALL
February 8, 2017: Masayoshi Son Predicted That SoftBank Would Benefit From President Trump’s Plans To De-Regulate The American Economy. “SoftBank Group is set to benefit from President Donald Trump’s planned deregulation of the American economy, according to CEO Masayoshi Son. The Japanese technology giant, which owns US operator Sprint, has already announced plans to invest up to $50 billion in the US after Son met Trump prior to his inauguration.” [Global Telecomms Business, 2/8/17]
November 6, 2017: Masayoshi Son Highlighted His Meeting Trump Tower Meeting With Donald Trump In An Earnings Call Where Son Said Trump Called Him “‘Great’”. “Masayoshi Son:… And before Mr. Trump became President, I went to Trump Tower to have a one-one conversation with him, and $50 billion of investment and 50,000 people as employment, I made a commitment to Mr. Trump. And 12 months since then, we have achieved almost half of that. In fact, JPY 5 trillion and 50,000 people in 4 years. I made a commitment to do that. And we had — we hit the 50% of that. And maybe I should double up. And Mr. Trump said that you are great. Masa, you are great, and he is happy about our commitment. Again, relationship with him is pretty good.” [FD Wire, 11/6/17]