New York • The chief lobbyist for AT&T is leaving the company after overseeing the hiring of President Donald Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen as a political consultant.
In a memo to employees, AT&T’s CEO Randall Stephenson said that Bob Quinn, senior executive vice president of the external and legislative affairs group, will retire.
Stephenson said that the company made a “big mistake” in hiring Cohen as a political consultant. While everything the company did was legal, Stephenson said that the association with Cohen was “a serious misjudgment.”
Stephenson noted that the company’s reputation has been damaged and that the vetting process used by its team in Washington “clearly failed.” The Washington team had hired Cohen under a one-year contract that paid $50,000 a month.
The Justice Department is seeking to block AT&T’s $85 billion purchase of Time Warner on the grounds that it would stifle competition. AT&T disagreed, sending the battle into a federal trial. U.S District Judge Richard Leon is expected to issue a ruling next month.
Cohen, according to AT&T, said that he was leaving the Trump organization to do consulting for a “select few” companies that wanted his opinion on the president and the administration.
The company was contacted by investigators with special counsel Robert Mueller, it provided “all information requested in November and December of 2017.
There has been no communication with Mueller’s office since then, the company said.