FC: Rep. John Conyers asks DOJ to reveal info about pro-MS talks

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Wed Nov 07 2001 - 09:02:26 PST

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    Let's be clear: Rep. John Conyers seems to believe that it's fine, even 
    laudable, for outside lobbyists to meet secretly with DOJ when demanding 
    antitrust action against a company. I don't recall Conyers complaining 
    about then-Netscape CEO Jim Barksale's cozy chats with DOJ's Joel Klein:
    >WASHINGTON -- Netscape CEO Jim Barksdale testified Tuesday that he met 
    >with US Department of Justice antitrust officials about a dozen times to 
    >discuss a potential lawsuit against rival Microsoft... Barksdale described 
    >a two-hour breakfast meeting "sometime last year" at his home in Palo 
    >Alto, California, with US Assistant Attorney General Joel Klein... 
    >discussed legal "remedies that would be appropriate," including what 
    >Netscape wanted the government to ask a court to do to its competitor...
    Now Conyers is in a snit because some DOJers might have been having, gasp, 
    some favorable-to-Microsoft conversations! Personally, I think it's 
    reasonable to be concerned by clandestine influence-peddling talks -- of 
    any kind. Conyers, alas, seems only interested in condemning the kind of 
    clandestine talks that could lead to a settlement in the Microsoft case.
    >At the outset, let me note that my earlier expressed concerns about 
    >inappropriate political influence have only been heightened by recent 
    >media reports that your own Chief of Staff, David Israelite, communicated 
    >with outside lobbyists in an effort to convince them to alter their 
    >clients' views regarding the role of the states in the case. [...] Third, 
    >the press has also reported that many career attorneys and staff at the 
    >Department were either cut out of the final negotiations or raised 
    >objections to it that were overruled.
        By David McGuire, Newsbytes
        WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S.A.,
        06 Nov 2001, 10:00 PM CST
        Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., today sent a letter to
        Attorney General John Ashcroft questioning the behavior and
        motivations of the Justice Department officials who struck a deal to
        settle the antitrust charges pending against Microsoft Corp. [NASDAQ:
        "I am writing to express my very serious concerns regarding reports of
        political influence and impropriety by Justice Department employees in
        the proposed settlement of the U.S. v. Microsoft case," Conyers wrote.
        In the letter, Conyers, who is the senior Democrat on the powerful
        House Judiciary Committee, asked Ashcroft to explain media reports
        that Justice Department officials had contact with outside lobbyists
        who may have helped sway them in their dealings with the software
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