Charles Schumer (N.Y.), a top Senate Democrat and member of the body's antitrust subcommittee, appeared to give his blessing to Comcast's purchase of Time Warner Cable, but did not mention that his brother was involved in the mega-deal. The news was first reported by the website LittleSis.
Schumer's office said on Monday night that the senator was not aware of his brother's involvement, and "will recuse himself from Congressional consideration of the matter to avoid any appearance of bias."
In a statement on Thursday, Schumer's office said he is "pleased with the news" that Comcast has committed to preserving Time Warner Cable call center jobs in Buffalo.
Schumer's brother, Robert Schumer, was named "Dealmaker of the Week" by The American Lawyer on Friday for his work on on the agreement. He is a partner at the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.
Charles Schumer received more campaign contributions from Time Warner Cable than any other member of Congress during the 2010 election cycle, the most recent time he was up for reelection, according to the website OpenSecrets.
Before the deal between the two behemoths can proceed, federal regulators must approve the takeover. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), the chair of the Senate Antitrust Subcommittee, has vowed to hold hearings on the merger. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), another member of the committee, has said that the massive merger is "the wrong direction" and issued a letter calling for close regulatory scrutiny. Schumer, who sits on this committee as well, did not sound any such warnings in his statement.
Last week, Schumer said, "It seems like the Time Warner Cable acquisition will be a good deal for New York," according to the New York Daily News.
The Comcast takeover of Time Warner Cable would result in a company with about 30 million subscribers. There has been much concern over how the deal would affect Internet and cable services, including some experts saying it could quash competition and result in higher prices.
UPDATE: Matt House, Sen. Schumer's communications director, provided this statement to The Huffington Post after this article was published:
"As Senator Schumer and his brother had never discussed the matter before, the piece in American Lawyer was the first Senator Schumer learned that his brother had worked on the deal. Now that he’s aware of his brother’s involvement, Senator Schumer will recuse himself from Congressional consideration of the matter to avoid any appearance of bias."