Southwest airlines CEO Gary Kelly, newly appointed by President Obama to the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, wants federal approval for Southwest's merger with AirTran, USA Today reports. The chairman of the council, GE's Jeffrey Immelt, already got federal antitrust approval for his sale of NBC-Universal to Comcast.
I'm not suggesting that these approvals should have been withheld. But the antitrust enforcement specter makes it a little less likely that a CEO with a pending deal would turn down an invitation from the president to serve on this council. And it doesn't exactly inspire confidence in impartial antitrust enforcement when the CEOs whose deals are up for approval are parading around with the president.