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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  • icon
    Bill W (profile), 23 Sep 2011 @ 7:07pm

    Is this a surprise? Perhaps only to his constituents. I shake my head in wonderment but I have no solutions to offer. Are we lost? I pray not but I am not convinced.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      AW (profile), 23 Sep 2011 @ 8:10pm

      Re:

      Apparently it's not a surprise anymore. I was thinking very similar thoughts to your own. I wonder if there are any studies that have public perception of corruption alongside actual known corruption statistics to see if there is a correlation.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    NotMyRealName (profile), 23 Sep 2011 @ 8:28pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Sep 2011 @ 9:28pm

    Where are those people saying lobbying is A-ok without transparency and accountability again?

    I saw one a-hole it was protected by the constitution, I wonder if he meant the corruption was protect by the constitution.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Mike C. (profile), 24 Sep 2011 @ 4:10am

    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"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 24 Sep 2011 @ 4:15am

    Do you, like myself, find yourself wondering if the only reason they are "investigating" is to prepare a memo to the other politicians they own on what NOT to do?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    The Devil's Coachman (profile), 24 Sep 2011 @ 5:06am

    I'm shocked! Shocked!

    Really! Corruption in government. No! Can't be! And in Florida, too! Lord, what is this world coming to?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Thomas (profile), 24 Sep 2011 @ 5:52am

    No surprise.

    Definitely not a surprise. Corruption is a given in government, all the way to Congress, the SCOTUS, and the White House.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    anonymous, 24 Sep 2011 @ 6:35am

    fucking good job! deserves everything he gets, as long as it's all bad! should be made to pay it all back out of his own pocket, removed from any and all public office and thrown in jail!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      LayedBack, 24 Sep 2011 @ 9:03pm

      Re: BS

      What will he get?
      The same treatment as our actors and actresses receive or any other business man/politician "a new higher paying job" maybe a book wrote for him oh i mean wrote by him cough cough.
      Having wealth does one thing for you no matter how you came across with the wealth it guarantees nothing will happen.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Overcast (profile), 24 Sep 2011 @ 7:42am

    Typical politics, no doubt.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2011 @ 8:23am

    Oh boy ,is he in trouble.,,,

    Wow, he's getting investigated by the FBI. I wish I could see the look on his face when the FBI give him the STERN look before going back to the office.

    Now, if only he had downloaded a song, just one song. THEN be would be in real trouble.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    loaderboy (profile), 24 Sep 2011 @ 4:39pm

    We are #2...

    behind Illinois but we are working on it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    F.Thompson, 28 Jan 2012 @ 5:12pm

    Marks has been on ADE's board for years and said he forgot when he voted in their favor.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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