Sunrise (3/22/11)

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AT&T, T-MOBILE DEAL MEANS BIG LOBBYING SPENDING

Adweek: “AT&T knows it’s likely to get regulators to clear its proposed $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile. Eventually. But the company also knows that it won’t be easy. Nor will it be cheap. … If last year’s deal between Comcast and NBC Universal was any indication, AT&T will need to spend at least as much, if not more, than the $100 million Comcast reportedly spent lobbying Congress and regulators.”

WSJ: “The former Baby Bell, which built itself up through a decade of acquisitions into the country’s largest telecommunications company, was planning to buy T-Mobile USA, a deal that would test its skilled regulatory team in Washington. … The deal comes as the Obama administrationhas signaled it will police mergers more aggressively than the prior Republican administration. The Federal Communications Commission, which also can effectively veto the deal, is wrestling with how to widen access to mobile broadband services and preparing to issue a report that raises fresh concerns about competitiveness in the wireless market. … Working in AT&T’s favor is a long history as one of the top-spending lobbying operations and campaign contributors in Washington, ties to influential lawmakers and policy makers in both parties, and the backing of the Communications Workers of America, the union that represents thousands of AT&T workers. … Since 1989, AT&T has been the top corporate donor to members of Congress, shelling out more than $46 million in campaign contributions to both Republicans and Democrats, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.”

NOT-SO-FLY LIKE A G6

The Hill: “Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) announced Monday she was sending a check to St. Louis County to pay thousands of dollars in back property taxes owed on a private plane. … The plane that McCaskill co-owns with her husband, wealthy businessman Joseph Shepard, and other investors had become a political issue after a report that she was using her office funds to pay for travel on the aircraft.”

SECRECY IT’S OWN ENTITY?

Secrecy News: “Does the secrecy system function according to its own autonomous principles?  Is it beyond the rule of law and outside of presidential control? … Not exactly.  If that were true, then there would never be involuntary changes to classification policy and there would be no compulsory declassification of classified information.  Fortunately, that is not consistently the case. … And yet there is a disturbing pattern of evidence to show that the secrecy system resists external control, and that it will not reliably fulfill even the most explicit presidential commands or the clearest requirements of law.”

REVOLVING DOOR LOBBYIST DOUBLES DOWN

Roll Call: “One post-Congress gig apparently wasn’t enough for ex-Rep. John Tanner (D-Tenn.). … The former Blue Dog announced in January that he was joining the Washington, D.C., lobbying firm Prime Policy Group as vice chairman. Now he also is signing on with the Nashville, Tenn.-based law firm Miller & Martin as counsel.”

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