WASHINGTON/BOSTON Makan Delrahim, a veteran
lobbyist on President Donald Trump's transition team, is
expected to be nominated to head the U.S. Justice Department's
Antitrust Division, two sources familiar with the vetting
process told Reuters on Friday.
Delrahim is expected to move to the Justice Department after
finishing up in the White House counsel's office, where he is
working to steer Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch through the
Senate confirmation process.
The sources spoke on background because an announcement has
not yet been made.
As the proposed new chief of the Antitrust Division, he
would be in charge of overseeing corporate mergers at a time
when many investors and corporate executives hope for a more
relaxed attitude toward deal-making after years of tougher
oversight by the Obama administration.
The department is reviewing a number of major deals,
including mergers of Dow and Dupont and Bayer
and Monsanto. Those proposed transactions,
along with a third deal, ChemChina's purchase of Syngenta
, would consolidate six agricultural chemical giants
The Justice Department is also assessing AT&T's
controversial plan to buy Time Warner, owner of HBO,
Warner Brothers and the news network CNN.
President Trump has not criticized the Time Warner deal
since the November election but during his campaign he said it
was an example of "too much concentration of power in the hands
of too few."
Delrahim must be confirmed by the Senate.
Before coming to work at the White House following Trump's
inauguration in January, Delrahim was a lobbyist with the law
firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP.
In 2016, he lobbied for the semiconductor company Qualcomm
, Comcast Corp and Zuffa LLC, also known as
the Ultimate Fighting Championship, among others, according to
the Lobbying Disclosure Act Database.
Another client in 2016 was health insurer Anthem Inc
, which this year lost a court fight with the Justice
Department over whether it would be allowed to merge with rival
Cigna. Anthem is appealing the loss.
Delrahim, whose family emigrated from Iran when he was
young, cemented his loyalty to Trump last summer when he wrote a
piece in the New York Post urging Republicans to fall in line
behind Trump. Only Trump would be able to win and ensure
conservatives on the Supreme Court, the lawyer argued, adding
"There’s no glory in handing the Supreme Court to a Democratic
president. But if we write off Trump, that’s what will happen."
Delrahim is a veteran of the Justice Department's Antitrust
Division, where he was deputy assistant attorney general from
2003 to 2005, under then-President George W. Bush. He
specialized in international antitrust.
(Reporting by Diane Bartz and Svea Herbst-Bayliss; Editing by