Funny How All The Senators Supporting Anti-FCC Bill, Have Raised Lots Of Money From AT&T

from the just-saying dept

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…

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Companies: at&t, fcc

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Comments on “Funny How All The Senators Supporting Anti-FCC Bill, Have Raised Lots Of Money From AT&T”

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40 Comments
Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Why stop at patches? Why not force the politicians to issue 30 second spots before they take any podium?

“I’m going to be talking to you today about a very important healthcare reform measure today,” said Senator Asscheez today, speaking before Congress. “But first, my fellow Senators, are you experiencing problems in the bedroom? Suspect you might have erectile disfunction but are afraid to talk to your doctor about it? Now you can call the friendly folks at Phallus-cudical Corp. for some free information on their new pill, called Boneranza, now by perscription only. Never again will you have to worry about being prepared when the time is right with your wife, mistress, or even just an intern that you’ll have to bury in a park later.”

Deep breath.

“Speaking of which, did you know you can go to Lowe’s for all your shovel, lime, and soil needs? At Lowe’s you’ll find all of the hardware and natural materials you’ll ever need to make someone disappear. Lowe’s: we’re burying someone together.”

Sheepish look.

“Anyway, about this healthcare thing….”

slacker525600 (profile) says:

I fully support the patches idea

I think that people often forget that lobbyists are trying to protect their interests which often align with the interests of their employees, but I think the whole thing has gotten out of hand. having an easy to recognize system that doesnt require digging through spreadsheets for each politician would be nice. I mean, if we had more than two political parties I imagine they would end up clustering around various lobbying interests, but thats not going to happen the way our system is set up.

sorry got rambly there. I dont know what a perfect system would look like(it probably wouldnt involve patches), all I know is our current system is a bastardization of what it was intended to be.

Nastybutler77 (profile) says:

Re: "Sponsorship Patches"

How about Congressional jerseys like soccer.

That’s funny but I think more realistically we should at the very least require members of Congress to wear colored ties representing their political party. Red for the Repubs, blue for the Dems, and purple for Joe Lieberman and the other independents with the hue of purple reflecting where their voting alligences mostly fall. If another party ever gets a member elected (not too bloody likely) we’ll get some more variety, but this way we wouldn’t need C-SPAN to put the little (D) or (R) next to their names on the graphic.

The Pirate Party would have the most bad ass ties possible, of course.

Ryan says:

Sounds Pretty Worthless Actually

Why do we need sponsorship patches? Anybody who knows anything can tell you that virtually every effort involving more government control is tied in some way to fulfilling the wishes of special interests. So virtually every Congressman would be walking around with a suit filled with patches (that is, assuming the system wouldn’t get gamed as they “inadvertently” neglect to wear an important one, which is a virtual certainty)…so where are we then?

Back to exactly where we are now, which is a government that shamelessly pursues its own interests and a populace that continues to elect politicians that support more taxation, more regulation, and more subsidization – either because they’re too stupid to realize that government bureaucrats are just as greedy, fallible, and self-serving as anybody in the general public (and undoubtedly more so in general), and/or because they know so yet support their efforts anyway because their party supports the intended outcome.

It’s a stupid idea that, like so many others, is more about illusory appearances than something that would actually improve society.

Nastybutler77 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Sounds Pretty Worthless Actually

Aaaawwww, would you like a tissue?

Losertarian government-hate is the domain of immature teenagers. You have no recourse but to attack me since you realize I’m right.

Again, everything you just said applies to you. I’m not taking any position here one way or the other. I’m merely pointing out that you are using personal attacks and acting immaturely in all your posts, while accusing everyone else of being immature. Thank you for proving my point yet again.

So it is you who has failed.

Danny says:

Bribe vs. Lobby

What’s the difference?

I like the patches idea. Frankly I don’t give a damn who pays for gas in (insert race car driver’s name)’s car. I think we’re still a ways off before NASCAR takes over the world. On the other hand politicians have a lot of power so I’d really like to know who’s sponsoring their bids for said power (because it may offer insight into what said politician is going to do with that power if they get it).

And while we’re talking about disclosure can we finally make cigarrette/tobacco product makers put a full list of ingredients on their labels?

Free Capitalist (profile) says:

Re: Keep Happening

Until we get some public campaign financing laws this is going to keep happening for every thing our gov’t does.

I have no faith in regulations written and approved by those who are to be regulated.

I feel Nick Dynice’s mashup idea (first comment on this article) is absolutely on the right track. People should get used to the idea that the best, most effective civil action happens in absence of government involvement.

In other words:

“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.
Wendell Phillips”

ChronoFish (profile) says:

That's what happens when AT&T is the top contributor to congress... period

http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/index.php

They pretty much give to every congress person who will take their money. Some more than others – but it appears the money is there for the taking…

So it’s really NOT surprising that those who support the bill have AT&T as one of their top contributors, nor would it be all the surprising if a congressman was getting a ton of cash from AT&T and still opposed the legislation.

There is no story here because – well – there is no story here. We’ve known for decades that cash is king. Contributors have gotten smart. They don’t support candidates who are good for them. They support candidates who are likely to win. If there is no clear winner – guess what – support them both evenly.

The only real stories regarding campaign contributions are the stories about money getting rejected or returned. And you know what – not only does it rarely happen – it’s really not all that interesting (yawn) and so news outlets don’t make a big deal out of it.

Congress supports big business. Big business supports congress. Americans think they care – but don’t – and end up voting for congressmen supported by big business anyway.

Nothing new here or there.
-CF

TAMbot says:

i’m a bit confused as to what everyone is upset about. Everyone is entitled to representation. Corporations are people as well and they deserve the right to protect themselves through the use of their congressmen as well. Just because someone makes a lot of money from a certain company doesn’t mean that they are “on the take” it just means that the company really supports the stances taken by that congressman. Individuals give contributions all the time and there are more of them, I just don’t get where the anger is from.
All this aside the government only really belongs in the business of promoting business interests not stifling them. Everyone already knows that tax breaks and subsidies create the best environment for hiring. That’s why we’re in this recession. They stopped the tax breaks.

Nastybutler77 (profile) says:

Re: Re:

i’m a bit confused as to what everyone is upset about. Everyone is entitled to representation. Corporations are people as well and they deserve the right to protect themselves through the use of their congressmen as well. Just because someone makes a lot of money from a certain company doesn’t mean that they are “on the take” it just means that the company really supports the stances taken by that congressman.

How’s the weather in your dream world? I hope it doesn’t rain and melt your gum drop house.

Nick Dynice (profile) says:

lol, TAMbot.

So let’s get this thing built. I am thinking something like Stumbleupon where you can view a representative’s website at random and it is inside of an iframe that will overlay corporate logos and dollar amounts. Maybe they display as animated bar graphs that grow with stacks of dollars. Here is a quick mockup http://nsputnik.com/demint.jpg

A name like yours says:

Of course

There is a way to stop all this people… It’s very simple too…
STOP VOTING FOR THESE LOSERS! DUUUUHHHHH!
Would it kill some of you to research who’s on the poll before going? Then, when you get to the booth, select write-in. Presto! No more career politicians screwing around with taxpayers money to make corporations more powerful. We’re a plutarchy, plain AND simple.

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