It has been almost exactly one month since the Department of Justice announced its sprawling antitrust lawsuit against Live Nation Entertainment, but a looming budget battle could have dire implications for the long-term viability of the prosecution. House Republicans have proposed to slash the agencies budget by close to a billion dollars, including major cuts to the antitrust division bringing the case that seeks to break up Live Nation and Ticketmaster up.

“This effort… is unacceptable,” Attorney General Merrick Garland told reporters on Tuesday after the announcement of the budget by the House Appropriations Committee. The Fiscal Year 2025 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act from the GOP-led House would fund DOJ at $36.5 billion, some $3 billion less than recommended by the White House.

A Department of Justice spokesperson declined to comment on the specific impact the proposed budget would have on its ability to pursue cases like USA vs. Live Nation Entertainment when contacted by TicketNews.

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Funding for the DOJ has become something of a political hot button, as the GOP has accused Garland and his staff of politically-motivated attacks on former President Donald Trump and other “abuses of power” under the Biden Administration. “This bill strategically balances federal funding to support American values and priorities by investing in programs that strengthen our economy and policies that protect our constitutional rights, while cutting wasteful spending and pushing back on blatant attempts to weaponize our justice system for political gain,” says Commerce, Justice, and Science Subcommittee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) in the release announcing the funding bill.

Cuts related to the Antitrust Division are even more significant: The GOP proposal would fund it at $192.776 million for the year. This figure is $40.224 million (9%) below its 2024 funding amount, and slashes 1/3 of the proposed $288 million the Biden Administration is pushing for as it looks to “strengthen antitrust enforcement efforts to promote vigorous marketplace competition and reduce costs and raise wages for the American people.”

It is unclear precisely what direct impact such a dramatic funding cut would have on any specific case. It seems reasonable to assume that, given that any major antitrust action is likely to be a multi-year effort – particularly when a massive corporation with substantial resources like Live Nation Entertainment is involved – such a deep cut to the division pursuing the case could harm it significantly.

For comparisons sake – Live Nation Entertainment CEO Michael Rapino ($139 million) and President/CFO Joe Berchtold ($54 million) received a combined compensation of $191.4 million in 2022 – compensation that drew anger from even their own shareholders.

Democrats have already spoken out against the sharp cuts proposed in the GOP budget, which they say would undermine law enforcement efforts across the country to score cheap political points.