Tallahassee Mayor Accused Of Being On AT&T's Payroll While Allegedly Diverting Federal Funds To AT&T Lobbying Group

from the buying-government dept

There’s been plenty of talk about AT&T’s deep lobbying connections around government, and its ability to put the name of various front groups on letters and op-eds penned by AT&T lobbyists. Most of those are probably legal, if icky and manipulative. But, in some cases, it appears that things may have crossed the line. BroadbandReports has the details on how the Mayor of Tallahassee, John Marks, apparently has been on the AT&T payroll since 1990 as a “lawyer and consultant.”

And it’s paying off. Marks is now being accused of taking $1.6 million in federal funds, and diverting it to a group called “the Alliance for Digital Equality” (ADE), which claims that it’s trying to help get internet access to poor people. Except…. the group is entirely funded by AT&T and: “uses its funds simply to lobby for AT&T, and did little to nothing to actually help the disadvantaged.” Mayor Marks, beyond being paid by AT&T, is also a paid member of ADE’s board of advisors — something he apparently didn’t think was necessary to disclose when he brought ADE to the City Commission in an effort to have that $1.6 million granted to the group. He also failed to disclose his relationship when he voted in favor of giving the money to ADE.

Both the Florida Commission on Ethics (who knew such a thing existed?!?) and the FBI are now investigating…

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Companies: at&t

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Comments on “Tallahassee Mayor Accused Of Being On AT&T's Payroll While Allegedly Diverting Federal Funds To AT&T Lobbying Group”

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NotMyRealName (profile) says:

This seems like a big embezzlement scheme to me.

Following the money:
Taxpayer to govt. (taxes)
govt to grant fund (controlled by Marks and others)
grant fund to a.d.e. (lobbying group)
a.d.e. back to the people who gave the money to a.d.e (because they are in control of the cash)

Makes me wonder who else got a piece of this pie.

Mike C. (profile) says:

Nothing will happen to AT&T though...

Of course, we all know how this will turn out. The investigation will result in something “bad” (arrest, loss of position, etc) for the Mayor. Immediately after, AT&T will put out a press release stating that “these were the actions of a renegade individual and at no time were made at the behest of an AT&T officer”

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