Lobbyists for Verizon Communications, which is refusing comment on a now-confirmed report that the telecommunications giant turned millions of its customers' records over to the National Security Agency, have thrown fundraisers for members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, records compiled by the Sunlight Foundation show.
According to the Political Party Time database, which tracks candidate fundraising events, lobbyists for Verizon Communications have hosted at least five fundraising events for Sens. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., and Susan Collins, R-Maine. Louis Dupart, of the lobbying firm The Normandy Group, hosted at least three events, two for Mikulski and one for Collins, while Wayne Berman hosted two more for Collins, including a birthday reception in 2010. Both senators voted in 2008 in favor of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which shielded telecom companies, including Verizon, from lawsuits related to an earlier wiretapping controversy.
Lobbyists for Verizon have also hosted a fundraiser for Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., an ex officio member of the Senate committee, and Rep. Thomas Rooney, R-Fla., a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
Verizon in PartyTime
|Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D, MD)||Louis Dupart||3/24/10||Fundraising Lunch||Johnny's Half Shell||See invite|
|Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D, MD)||Louis Dupart, Paul Nash, Deborah Ratner Salzberg||2/12/09||Fundraising Lunch||Bistro Bis||See invite|
|Sen. Susan Collins (R, ME)||Louis Dupart, Paul Nash, Bill Barr, Frank Cantrel Jr.||2/27/08||Luncheon||Johnny's Half Shell||See invite|
|Sen. Susan Collins (R, ME)||Joel Wood, Doyce Boesch, Elena Tompkins, Michael Beer, Wayne Berman, Rachelle Bernstecker, Ben Cooper, Jim Cregan, Patti Goldman, Vicki Hart, Ted Hollingsworth, Kate Hull, Charlie Iovino, Gerry Lamb, Bob Levi, David Lugar, Peter Madigan, Bob Tyrer, Rick Rodgers, John O'Neill, David Urban, Kathryn Rand, Michael Bopp, Justin Daly , Val Halamandaris||12/13/10||Birthday Reception||Fed Ex Townhouse||See invite|
|Sen. Susan Collins (R, ME)||Jim Pitts, Ron Kaufman, John Runyan, Joel Wood, Doyce Boesch, Kerri Leininger, Bob Sullivan, John Milne, Michael Beer, Jennifer Bendall, Wayne Berman, Rachelle Bernstecker, Charlie Black, David Bockorny, Christine Ciccone, Ben Cooper, Jim Cregan, Susan Eckerly, Patti Goldman, Vicki Hart, Susan Hirschmann, Ted Hollingsworth, Stacey Hughes, Kate Hull, Charlie Iovino, Dick Ladd, Gerry Lamb, Bob Levi, Art Lifson, David Lugar, Peter Madigan, Mark Micali, Mary Frances Pearson, Ken Preede, Elaine Stephens, Bob Tyrer, Dana Wood, Brian Worth||6/4/08||Maine Style Luncheon||National Republican Senatorial Committee||See invite|
|Sen. Jim Inhofe (R, OK)||John Green, Stewart Hall||2/28/13||Lunch||The 116 Club||See invite|
|Rep. Tom Rooney (R, FL-16)||Louis Dupart, Frank Cavaliere, Kelly Cole, John Feehery, Paul Jackson, Jason Roe, Todd Thorpe, Josh Brown, John Russell, Chris Cylke, Bill Miller, Tripp Baird, Mat Lapinski, Jeff Pannozzo, Mike Platt, Honeywell PAC, Linda Auglis, Bill Bailey, Lisa Barkovic, Tim Berry, Geoff Burr, Allen Chew, Paul Dean, Lisa Goeas, Lou Hayden, Amy Isbell, Matt Keelen, Peter Krug, Jessica Moore, Chris Merida, Emmett O'Keefe, Kathy Ramsey, Hollyn Schuemann, Vance Schuemann, Mike Sewell||3/25/09||Young Professionals Reception||The Dubliner||See invite|
Verizon Communications has spent close to $190 million on lobbying since 1991, and its political action committee and employees have donated more than $39 million to political candidates in the same period, data compiled by Sunlight's Influence Explorer shows.
The Guardian broke news Wednesday that a secret order, issued by the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, requires that Verizon Business Network Services turn over 'telephony metadata' to the National Security Agency. In the wake of the Guardian report, top-ranking members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Dianne Feinstein, D-Ca., and Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., confirmed that they had been briefed on the otherwise secret effort and described it as a minimal intrusion that is necessary for national security.
On the other side of what has been an under-the-radar debate, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., issued a statement confirming that the telephone data collection is a program that he and fellow Senate Intelligence Committee member Mark Udall, D-Colo., have been obliquely warning about. Wyden and Udall have questioned whether such surveillance is permissible under the Patriot Act.