According to Reuters, Protect Democracy Project Inc has sued the White House and the Justice Department for communications regarding The Walt Disney Company’s pending acquisition of 21st Century Fox.
According to their website, the Protect Democracy Project is a nonpartisan nonprofit with the goal to hold the President and the Executive Branch accountable to the laws and longstanding practices that have protected the United States democracy through both Democratic and Republican Administrations.
The group is concerned that the deal would be getting favorable treatment due to President Trump’s relationship with Rupert Murdoch. The White House did confirm that the President called Mr. Murdoch to congratulate him on the deal. It is no secret that the President prefers Fox News as a news source. The news network is not part of the transaction and will remain controlled by the Murdoch family.
The President has been critical of AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner, which controls CNN. That deal is currently in the courts as the Justice Department is stating anti-trust concerns while the two companies claim that there should be no concerns. Some have wondered if the President’s criticism of CNN may have come into play regarding to Justice Departments opinion on the deal.
The Protect Democracy Project sued for the communications regarding the AT&T/Time Warner deal in November. That lawsuit is still pending.
The White House, the Justice Department and Disney did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Fox declined to comment.
Neither 21st Century Fox nor Disney believe there are any anti-trust issues with their deal. They excluded certain assets such as the Fox broadcast network and FS1 to ensure the regulatory process would be easier.
The Disney-Fox transaction will have to clear regulators in the United States and around the world. According to Disney CEO Bob Iger, they have already begun the process of gaining approval.