NC State Senator Admits Broadband Companies Wrote His Bill & Says He 'Carries Water' For Companies
from the wow dept
Ah, North Carolina. A year and a half ago, we wrote about an attempt by the North Carolina state legislature to pass an anti-municipal broadband bill in the state. These bills have become somewhat common. Basically, cities that feel that giant broadband companies aren’t providing quality services often decide to build their own local offering. Since broadband is often a monopoly or a duopoly of critical infrastructure, having a local community create another option makes tremendous sense, when done right (though, admittedly, many don’t do it well). Yet, the big broadband players tend to spend tons of money fighting these community competitors, rather than actually providing better/faster services.
What was most interesting about the situation in North Carolina, however, was how blatant state politicians were in highlighting that it was really the broadband companies who were calling the shots. In our story from April of 2009, it was noted that when the state representatives sponsoring the bill were asked questions about it during a committee hearing, they asked Time Warner employees to answer for them. Think about that for a second. The sponsors of the bill couldn’t answer the questions, so they asked industry folks to answer instead. We had thought that was about as blatant as a politician could be in admitting that the bill was actually written by the industry and that the politicians didn’t even understand what they were sponsoring.
However, now it appears that a North Carolina state Senator may have taken that even further. Ars Technica points us to a local news report by WCNC, who asked bill sponsor Senator David Hoyle if the bill was written by cable companies:
When the I-Team asked him if the cable industry drew up the bill, Senator Hoyle responded, “Yes, along with my help.”
When asked about criticism that he was “carrying water” for the cable companies, Hoyle replied, “I’ve carried more water than Gunga Din for the business community – the people who pay the taxes.”
That’s going to look great on a campaign poster from a competitor in a future election. While none of this is surprising — the fact that lobbyists write the bills and politicians simply shuffle them forward — is nothing new, it is surprising to see a politician so willing to admit it. Perhaps he forgets that it’s not just the companies who pay taxes (and, for the most part, these big companies are really good at avoiding taxes), but the citizens of the state who vote for him (or not) who pay taxes as well. Flat out stating that he’s “carried more water than Gunga Din for the business community,” may make the citizens wonder whether he was elected to represent companies like Time Warner (not based in North Carolina) or the actual citizens who elected him.