Ashcroft Shows True Side

Article today in the Wallstreet Journal, amongst others, show the true nature of former Attorney General John Asshcroft. When dealing with the Sirius – XM Satellite Radio merger he came out barking last week in strong opposition on behalf of the National Association of Broadcasters but actually peddled his expert opinion to the satellite companies first. Money rules when your a lobbyist consultant, not the actual issue. Sure puts into question “his honest opinion as an antitrust expert”. Can any politicians really be trusted?

By COREY BOLES
March 3, 2007 8:36 p.m.
WASHINGTON — Former Attorney General John Ashcroft, who sent a letter this week to his successor Alberto Gonzales blasting the proposed merger of Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. and XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc., approached XM in the days after the merger was announced offering the firm his consulting services, a spokesman for XM said Saturday.

The spokesman said XM declined Mr. Ashcroft’s offer to work as a lobbyist for the company.

Mr. Ashcroft was subsequently hired by the National Association of Broadcasters, which is fiercely opposed to the merger. On its behalf he conducted a review of the effects on competition if the two satellite radio companies were allowed to merge.

In a letter sent to Mr. Gonzales Feb. 27, Mr. Ashcroft concluded the merger would have a significant negative impact on competition in the market and urged the current attorney general to withhold approval for the merger.

“After the merger was announced, Mr. Ashcroft’s firm contacted us about hiring him to assist us,” said Nathaniel Brown, a spokesman for XM. “We declined. Apparently the National Association of Broadcasters opted to pay him to parrot their views.”

Dennis Wharton, the NAB’s executive director, said Saturday, “NAB approached former Attorney General Ashcroft to review the proposed XM-Sirius merger and offer his honest opinion as an antitrust expert. We are not aware of any alleged previous discussions between Mr. Ashcroft and officials at either satellite radio company.”

A revelation that Mr. Ashcroft was shopping his services to both sides of the debate over the merger may raise doubts in the eyes of some as to the rigor of his review conducted on behalf of the NAB.

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