Television provider DirecTV has responded to GOP senators’ requests to explain their decision to drop the conservative news network Newsmax, saying the cut was part of a “routine” business dispute after criticism that the move was political. 

“With respect to the Newsmax situation, put simply, this is a typical business dispute that has nothing to do with ideology, politics or censorship – despite unfounded accusations to the contrary by Newsmax, its CEO, its commentators and others,” reads the DirectTV response

After DirecTV dropped Newsmax from its channel lineup last month over a carrier fees dispute, GOP Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Mike Lee (Utah) and Tom Cotton (Ark.) wrote to the cable provider’s corporate leadership demanding an explanation and alleging the company favored liberal programs.

“DirecTV’s decision follows recent revelations of collusion between Big Tech companies and Democrat officials to label conservative speech as ‘misinformation’ and censor it. The silencing of conservative speech at the request of government officials is a direct assault on free speech and a threat to democracy,” the senators argued.

But DirectTV contends it wanted to continue carrying Newsmax “under the exact same terms that have been in place for years,” but that Newsmax ended the partnership when the network “refused to continue these terms and demanded millions of dollars in extra payments.”

“It is in fact Newsmax that dropped DIRECTV,” the letter reads. 

“We agree with you that it’s important to include a wide range of perspectives in our channel line-up, and doing so is a cornerstone of our value proposition to our customers. In fact, we were one of the first pay TV operators to distribute Newsmax when the channel was founded nearly a decade ago.”