T-Mobile has admitted that after it began lobbying for a merger with Sprint, it started to book stays for top executives at President Donald Trump’s Washington hotel. Over ten months, T-Mobile spent a total of $195,000 at the Trump hotel, it detailed in a letter to Congress Democrats last month that was seen by The Washington Post.
Last April, T-Mobile announced it was merging with Sprint. But for the merger to go through, it still needs the Trump administration to give its approval, as well as the Federal Communications Commission. In January, The Washington Post found that just a day after the merger was announced, the carrier booked nine T-Mobile executives to stay at Trump’s hotel. While at the hotel, the executives wore bright magenta shirts with the company logo.
The flurry of booking activity was a sharp contrast to T-Mobile’s previous hotel reservation patterns. The company had only purchased stays at Trump’s hotel for two officials in the past, staying for only two nights. Since the merger, the carrier has booked the hotel for at least 52 nights.
T-Mobile revealed the large sum it had spent in a February 21st letter answering questions posed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA). The lawmakers have accused Trump of using his position as president to line his pockets with lobbying money. T-Mobile says the money went toward booking the rooms, but also to catering and renting out meeting space with audio and visual equipment.
The spending is only 14 percent of T-Mobile’s total spending on DC-area hotels — half of which went to Hilton hotels. T-Mobile also said it didn’t think the stays would play any role in helping the US government decide whether to approve the merger or not.
T-Mobile did not immediately respond to comment. It told The Verge in a January statement: “The T-Mobile senior leadership team stays at a variety of hotels in DC and across the country — and they are chosen primarily based on proximity to the meetings being conducted.”