Schumer recuses from Comcast-Time Warner deal

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Charles Schumer. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
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Sen. Chuck Schumer will recuse himself from congressional consideration of Comcast's acquisition of Time Warner Cable, because his brother, Robert, was a lead attorney on the deal.

A report over the weekend raised questions about Schumer's impartiality, after The American Lawyer magazine named Robert Schumer, a partner at Paul Weiss, its "Dealmaker of the Week" for his involvement in the sale.

"As Senator Schumer and his brother had never discussed the matter before, the piece in American Lawyer was the first Senator Schumer learned that his brother had worked on the deal," said Max Young, a spokesman for Schumer, in a statement. "Now that he’s aware of his brother’s involvement, Senator Schumer will recuse himself from Congressional consideration of the matter to avoid any appearance of bias."

Schumer had previously praised the deal, saying Comcast had told him they expected to increase Time Warner's operation in New York, planned to keep New York 1, and were committed to increasing jobs in Buffalo.

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“While we still need to review the details, it seems like the Time Warner Cable acquisition will be a good deal for New York," Schumer said in a statement on Feb. 13, shortly after the deal was announced.

Schumer's recusal gives the deal one less champion in Washington, where the companies are likely to face intense legislative and regulatory scrutiny over whether the combined company violates federal anti-trust laws.

Robert Schumer told American Lawyer that the deal anticipated many of the regulatory questions.

"We obviously had to be confident that we believed the deal could get done," he told the magazine. "There were significant negotiations around the contract terms involving the regulatory approvals, but obviously we were very comfortable with it."

Comcast executive vice president David Cohen told reporters last week that he expects the deal to be approved in nine to 12 months.