Another layer of influence: AT&T and DirecTV lobbyists’ congressional fundraisers
AT&T’s pending $48.5 billion merger with DirecTV would radically alter the telecomm and television landscape, but the deal will have to get Executive Branch approval first. Of course it doesn’t hurt to have friends on Capitol Hill. As Russ Choma of OpenSecrets.org reported on May 14, neither company is new to the influence world of federal lobbying and campaign contributions. While checks are one way to track an organization’s political agenda, another way for Beltway insiders to stay in a politician’s good graces is by hosting a campaign fundraiser.
Political Party Time collects invitations to federal and local campaign fundraisers and records data on the recipients, location and cost of the event. We are largely dependent on anonymous sources and it’s not always clear how much money is raised at a given fundraiser, but past reports have cited figures ranging from tens of thousands of dollars, to millions at a Hollywood fundraiser for Barack Obama.
The table below links to all the parties in Party Time’s database hosted by a currently-registered lobbyist who represents AT&T or DirecTV. While the lobbyists below may not have been representing these companies at the time of the fundraiser, they certainly made connections that could help them advance the cause of their current employers.
The parties featured show a bipartisan spread of fundraising among these lobbyists, which is not unusual: Generally firms and companies with a presence on K Street will employ government relations professionals from either side of the aisle.
Lyndon Boozer, an in-house lobbyist for AT&T with experience at both the Federal Communications Commission and the U.S. Telecomm Association has hosted golf tournaments, a ‘crawfish fest‘ and luncheons for Democratic members of Congress. Campaigns may charge anywhere from $250 to $1,000 just to attend. Photo ops and other extra access can cost even more.
In total, Boozer’s name appears as host on 19 different events in Party Time.
One of the most prolific partiers among DirecTV’s stable of lobbyists, John Green has been wielding influence on Capitol Hill for decades. After working in the mid ’90s as the deputy chief of staff for former Senate Republican Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi, Green headed to K Street. He has worked for multiple firms and started two major lobbying shops in D.C., focusing on issues ranging from telecommunications to taxes to appropriations to banking.
Green founded Crossroads Strategies in 2010, and before that, started the Federalist Group. Ogilvy Government Relations – a mega lobbying firm with big-name clients like Verizon and Chevron – bought out the Federalist Group in 2005.
Party Time data show Green has hosted or co-hosted 21 parties since 2006. With the exception of one fundraiser for Blue Dog Rep. Allen Boyd, D-Fla., every party benefited a Republican member or candidate. In March 2012, Party Time records show Green throwing a fundraiser for then-Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, who sat on the Communications, Technology and the Internet Subcommittee, which oversees many telecommunications issues. That party was scheduled just a few days after Snowe, citing Washington’s hyper-partisanship, announced she would not seek re-election.
The most recent Green event on Party Time’s records: A February 2013 shindig, when he and his business partner, Stewart Hall, co-hosted a lunchtime fundraiser for Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla. Hall and Green started both the Federalist Group and Crossroads Strategies together. Inhofe serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Environment and Public Works Committee but made headlines recently when another big tech company, Google, hosted a fundraiser for him.