We mentioned, when the recent FCC report on broadband came out, that it seemed notable that the first politician out of the gate complaining about it, Rep. Cliff Stearns just happened to have had massive financial support
from the biggest broadband players around when it came to raising money for his political campaigns. Given that, it seemed worth looking into the sponsors of a new bill designed to prevent the FCC
from implementing net neutrality rules. Now I'm still not convinced the FCC really has the authority to do what it's trying to do, but I find it even more troubling when a group of Senators get together and call a new bill the "Freedom for Consumer Choice Act (FCC Act)," and it seems like they're all funded by AT&T. Somehow, I don't think that AT&T is supporting "freedom for consumer choice" when it comes to broadband. Over the years, they've done exactly the opposite, and worked hard to limit competition.
So, let's see. The bill's main sponsor is Senator Jim DeMint. Over the course of his career... AT&T is the second largest contributor
to his campaigns. Ditto
for Senator Tom Coburn. John Cornryn no doubt knows that AT&T is the 4th biggest contributor
to his campaigns over the years, and Orrin Hatch must be happy that AT&T is the fifth largest contributor to his campaigns
over the years (amusingly, AT&T is the only non-healthcare company in the top 8 on Hatch's list).
There are three other co-sponsors who don't
have AT&T among their top contributors, but apparently they all want to start. If you drill down and look at campaign contributions this year
all three -- John Ensign
, Jeff Sessions
and John Thune
see AT&T appearing on their list of top contributors after being absent in previous years.
Funny how that works.
Now, of course, you could argue that AT&T contributes to politicians who have the same views as AT&T, rather than that these politicians are responding to AT&T's bidding. But, either way, it's hard to argue with a straight face that this particular bill has anything to do with protecting consumers
, when it's pretty clearly designed to protect AT&T
I've seen people suggest in the past that elected officials should have to wear "sponsorship patches," like Nascar racers, to show who funded their campaigns. While I think the idea was a joke, I have to admit, it's growing on me. Also, a special thanks to Karl Bode for inspiring me to write this post, in noting that none of the press coverage
of the newly introduced bill seems to note the AT&T contributions to these Senators...