While Congress and the Department of Justice are questioning the T-Mobile and AT&T merger, Deutsche Telekom, T-Mobile's parent company has been working on a behind the scene lobbying campaign, contacting key opponents to the deal in the last few months, reports filed under the Foreign Agents Registration Act show.
Deutsche Telekom, looking to sell T-Mobile to AT&T creating a mammoth corporation making up a large chunk of the U.S. wireless market, has spent $4.3 million in the last six months to lobby and maintain a staff in the U.S., six monthly reports filed with ...Continue reading
Massive Lobbying Operation For Telecom Merger
AT&T is already the second largest mobile phone operator in the country and is looking to get bigger through a... View ArticleContinue reading
Opponents of net neutrality attending congressional telecom meetings spend more on lobbying
Last Friday, two congressional committees held closed door discussions with 31 representatives from industry and activist groups to discuss writing... View ArticleContinue reading
Former government officials hired to lobby as Congress looks to rewrite telecom law
As leaders in Congress announced a series of hearings this June to tackle huge telecommunications issues with a focus on... View ArticleContinue reading
Net neutrality: Do campaign contributions tell the whole story?
After 74 Democratic members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski warning that the FCC should not advance net neutrality rules without explicit direction from Congress, Free Press put together a page showing career campaign contributors from PACs, employees and lobbyists of interests that oppose the measure, intended to keep the Internet a level playing field.
The biggest recipient of telecom campaign cash was Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., who took in more than $128,000--over the course of an 18-year career, that averages out to about $14,400 an election cycle. Four ...
Fighting net neutrality, telecom companies, outside lobbyists, cluster contributions to members of Congress
While the Federal Communications Commission considers the first steps toward ensuring net neutrality--making certain that broadband providers do not discriminate against high traffic sites--the telecom firms that would be affected by the rules and their trade groups have been swamping Congress with a one-two punch of campaign contributions from the companies and their registered lobbyists. Some 244 members of Congress were the beneficiaries of these contribution clusters--totaling more than $9.4 million--from January 2007 to June 2009, an investigative collaboration of the Sunlight Foundation and the Center for Responsive Politics has found. Telecom interests and their lobbyists engaged in more ...Continue reading
Telecom’s K Street Buy
Glenn Greenwald's latest column illustrates how telecom companies are attempting to buy amnesty from Congress through a multi-million dollar lobbying campaign. He is dead on by calling the effort "a perfect microcosm for how our government institutions work."
By accessing the Center for Responsive Politics' lobbying database, Greenwald reports that in the first three months of this year, three telecom companies (AT&T, Verizon, Comcast) have spent a combined $13 million lobbying Congress. If they maintain this pace throughout this year (and what's to stop them?), the three companies will spend $50 million. Nonprofit groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation are leading the fight against amnesty. Greenwald links to a post by Kurt Opsahl, EFF senior staff attorney, on his organization's Deeplinks Blog. Opsahl makes the point that "AT&T's spending for three months on lobbying alone is significantly more than the entire EFF budget for a whole year, from attorneys to sysadmins, pencils to bandwidth."Wanna place any bets on the outcome of this one?Continue reading
Republicans Demand Campaign Cash for Votes
It looks like congressional Republicans have seen MAPLight.org - the insanely useful money-for-votes tracker - and they like the idea. (Also see: National Association of Home Builders.) That idea being that money equals votes and votes equal money and therefore interests that they vote in favor of should kick back some campaign cash to reward their votes:
With the House Democrats’ refusal to grant retroactive immunity to phone companies — stalling the rewrite of the warrantless wiretapping program — GOP leadership aides are grumbling that their party isn’t getting more political money from the telecommunications industry.Continue reading
Why Did Verizon and AT&T Executives Suddenly Swoon for a Senator?
Ryan Singel of the Threat Level blog discovers a curious phenomenon: Between 2001 and 2006, high level executives of AT&T and Verizon contributed hardly any money at all to the campaigns of Sen. Jay Rockefeller, chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Starting in March 2007, they apparently discovered a real affinity for him, writing checks totaling some $48,500 to the West Virginia senator's campaign committee. Perhaps that's because Rockefeller had come around to their views:
Both companies are being sued for allegedly turning over billions of calling records to the government, while AT&T is also accused of letting the National Security Agency wiretap phone calls and its internet backbone. A federal judge in California allowed the suits regarding the eavesdropping to continue despite the government's attempt to have the suits thrown out on the grounds they will endanger national security. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reviewed that decision in August. The judges seemed reluctant to toss the cases, but have yet to issue a ruling. On Thursday evening, the Rockefeller-led Senate Intelligence Committee is marking up a bill to re-amend the nation's spy laws. While the text of the bill has not yet been released, the bill reportedly includes a way for the telecoms to escape the litigation against them.The legal immunity for telecoms was included in the bill. Ellen Miller had previously noted the industry's clout with Congress--"the telecom industry has spent $24 million lobbying Congress so far this year, and almost $52 million lobbying in 2006. In the two-year 2006 cycle, the latest cycle on record, the industry gave over $6.4 million dollars in political contributions to the House and Senate." Always worth remembering that those millions end up in the coffers of particular politicians at particular times. By the way, all the numbers cited here and above come from the invaluable OpenSecrets from the Center for Responsive Politics--the ultimate scorecard for following politics. Continue reading