In a year with a major Telecom bill before congress, numerous regulatory issues on the table, and Net Neutrality still hovering ominously over the webiverse, the big Telecom companies, and their lobbyists, have gotten out their checkbooks. From the National Journal:
“Officials of dominant telephone and cable TV companies vying for an upper hand in pending telecommunications legislation are contributing heavily this election season to Republican incumbents who share those firms’ deregulatory outlook.”
Let’s take a look at the money flow from these interested parties:
- AT&T – $1,700,000.
- National Cable and Telecommunications Association – $1,048,444.
- Verizon Communications – $905,700.
- BellSouth – $686,850.
- Comcast – $581,000.
- National Association of Broadcasters – $403,820.
- Qwest Communications International – $384,702.
- Clear Channel Communications – $342,000.
- Time Warner – $309,750.
These corporations are aggressively pursuing their interests, which include killing Net Neutrality and removing barriers to more consolidation. Now, let’s look at where that money went:
- George Allen – $260,132.
- Conrad Burns – $210,941.
- John Ensign – $203,439.
- Rick Santorum – $168,000.
- Dennis Hastert – $158,350.
- Joe Barton – $155,129.
- Fred Upton – 152,400.
These are Washington honchos that shape legislation and hold the federal government’s purse strings. The money they are receiving is sorely needed now. Burns is the most endangered incumbent in the senate due in part to his having received more money from convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff than any other senator. Santorum is presently behind in his senate reelection bid. And Republicans in general are suffering from the low ratings of congress and the president.
So the Telecom industry has come to the rescue in hopes that they will be rewarded with legislative perks and deregulation. Let’s hope they don’t get their money’s worth.