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Congressional Reps Signing Sympathy-For-The-Cable-Industry Letter Received More Than Twice As Much Funding From Cable Lobbyists

from the the-original-'pay-for-play' dept

As the ongoing net neutrality/internet fast lane issue continues to be debated by the FCC and many other interested parties, it's always helpful to know where your representatives stand on issues related to this battle.

One of the issues being considered by the FCC is the reclassification of internet service as a public utility under Title II. This sort of regulation is obviously opposed by major internet service providers, who aren't exactly smitten with the idea of being held accountable on price or service quality by a government agency.

Maplight.org has researched the political contributions flowing to the 28 Congressional representatives who signed letters opposing this particular part of the FCC's proposed rule changes and found that -- surprise! -- cable companies put far more money into the pockets of those who side with them on this issue.

The 28 representatives signing letters to the FCC against Title II reclassification of the internet as a public utility, a position allied with the cable industry, have received, on average, $26,832 from the cable industry, 2.3 times more money than the average for all members of the House of Representatives, $11,651.
Republicans seem to be asking for more in return for sympathetic letter-writing.
Republicans signing the letters against Title II reclassification of the internet as a public utility have received, on average, $59,812 from the cable industry, 5 times more than the average for all members of the House, $11,651.
In fact, Maplight notes that the top five recipients among letter signers are all Republicans. Evidence indicates that the spendthrift lobbyist may be better off contributing to Democrats.
Democrats signing the letters against Title II reclassification of the internet as a public utility have received, on average, $13,640 from the cable industry, 1.2 times more times more than the average for all members of the House, $11,651.
Maplight also points out that there's an additional layer of self-interest at play as well. According to its research, 29 members of Congress own stock in Comcast, making it the 25th most popular stock in the Congressional market.

The letter warns that this additional regulation will "stifle innovation" and "halt job creation." Comcast's FCC filing is even more succinct in transparent self-interest:
Title II would spark massive instability, create investor and marketplace uncertainty, derail planned investments, and slow broadband adoption.
I'd love to hear more about Comcast's "planned investments" that don't include funneling funds into politician's pockets or swallowing another large cable company, but the filing contains none of these insights. Like the infamous "fiber-to-the-press-release" announcements, any claim of "instability" or curbed "investments" tends to be nothing but enraged puffs of hot air.The company's true aim still seems to be figuring out how it can make more while doing less.



Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    bob, May 20th, 2014 @ 4:24pm

    And how much funding did the others receive from GOOG?

    This is just a sumo battle of billionaires. Google has their lobbyists and their buzzwords and so does the cable duopoly. Quit portraying it as anything but that.

    The companies like Netflix want to flood the Internet with their content but not pay extra for using more resources. They want someone else to pick up the check. It's called Death of the Commons and it's coming to the Internet slowly but surely.

     

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

  2.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), May 20th, 2014 @ 4:41pm

    Re: Oh look, he's back...

    With another failed argument.

    If the U.S. had broadband capabilities on par with South Korea, bob, this whole "using more resources" line wouldn't even be an issue because it wouldn't exist.

     

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

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2014 @ 4:50pm

    Netflix does pay for every bit of data that they use...to their backbone provider.

    Why is it again that Netflix should pay Comcast for overselling the bandwidth they purchase from their backbone provider?

     

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

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2014 @ 4:52pm

    Re: And how much funding did the others receive from GOOG?

    "Quit portraying it as anything but that"

    This is much more than a battle between corporate self interests. To claim otherwise is deceitful or ignorant.


    "companies like Netflix want to flood the Internet with their content but not pay extra "

    Why should any company pay extra? They already pay their own bandwidth charges, their packets are exchanged via existing peering agreements (which do affect BW charges).


    "They want someone else to pick up the check"

    There is no check to pick up, the toll collectors simply demand more because they are being allowed to.


    "Death of the Commons"

    Not applicable in this case, please find some other cathy phase to fling about.

     

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

  5.  
    icon
    Jay (profile), May 20th, 2014 @ 5:02pm

    Re: Re: Oh look, he's back...

    The US won't get those broadband capabilities until the monopoly rents of copyright infringement, monopolization of infrastructure, and this push for microtransactions on cable bills is stopped and people push for more competition.

    Breaking up the Comcast/TWC and other big monopolies could help, but so can breaking up other large companies that continue to poison the well of democracy for their own selfish agendas.

    This is truly ridiculous...

    Why should I believe that these companies need more money when they can't even give what they promised in the first place?

     

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

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2014 @ 5:04pm

    Nope. Still not corruption. Just a case of the cable industry spreading more free speech units around than the rest of us - that's all.

     

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

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2014 @ 5:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Oh look, he's back...

    Yes, I'm sure Holder, the Champion of the People and Imprisoner of Bankers, will get right on that.

     

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

  8.  
    icon
    vegetaman (profile), May 20th, 2014 @ 5:51pm

    "Their tears won't dry themselves with these stacks of crisp $100 bills!"

     

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

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2014 @ 5:53pm

    the sickening part is they will probably get everything they want even with everyone watching so close and it being an obviously anti-consumer idea. Wheeler is bought and paid for and so is congress. They paid for this merger and for fast lanes and they will get them. Good ROI for sure.

     

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

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2014 @ 6:24pm

    Re:

    I like how Bohner goes around the house floor passing out envelops filled with speech units just prior to taking the vote. He said he would stop doing that, I wonder if he now simply hands out the speech units earlier in the day.

     

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

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2014 @ 6:28pm

    Re:

    Short term - yeah. That is all they see. They are shooting themselves in the foot and they are so drunk with power and corruption that they do not even realize it.

     

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

  12.  
    identicon
    Typical shill on Techdirt, May 20th, 2014 @ 6:32pm

    but ... but ... but ...

    This is how democracy works. The corporations reflect what the majority wants and they spend money to get those laws passed. That's how laws get passed in favor of what the majority wants! The majority should thank the corporations for doing them a favor and fighting for them.

    Those opposing these laws are merely a small minority that the corporations are protecting the majority from.

     

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

  13.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), May 20th, 2014 @ 6:55pm

    Re: And how much funding did the others receive from GOOG?

    This is just a sumo battle of billionaires. Google has their lobbyists and their buzzwords and so does the cable duopoly. Quit portraying it as anything but that.

    It is very much *not* that. Google has *frustratingly* refused to do anything on this issue, other than sign a single letter. It is not lobbying on the issue against the broadband providers.

    In fact, if you had been paying attention and weren't a kneejerk Google hater, you'd know that the previous rules were ones that Google and Verizon hashed out together.

    Google used to be strongly for net neutrality, but that's gone away.

     

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

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2014 @ 7:22pm

    Re: Re: And how much funding did the others receive from GOOG?

    I'm with Mike on this one. Where are you Google, Amazon, et al? Do they know something we don't know? Some data: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/05/16/net_neutrality_opponents_outspent_backers_by_three_to_one_ma rgin/

     

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

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2014 @ 10:40pm

    Re:

    Because, um, Comcast want more money from everyone, and are willing to extort everyone?

    wait, no, that's too impolitic. Um, Lobbying! Yeah, that's the one!

     

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

  16.  
    identicon
    Whatever, May 21st, 2014 @ 12:40am

    hard place rock interface

    Really, there are many problems in the game here. Trying to paint the problem as "who paid the most for influence" is an attempt to ignore the core issue and to instead win with mud flinging.

    The arguments of "average versus peak" payouts are also somewhat self serving, because too much data is missing.

    How many members of the house (a) got money from Comcast, and (b) are in districts served by comcast? See, Comcast could be giving more money where they do business (wise idea) and as a result, the average over the whole house is lower, because some members may have gotten nothing or only a token amount.

    Once you start comparing to "average" you need to show what is involved in average. If one member gets $25k and another gets nothing, the guy who got 25K got twice the average. Sounds like something you should be mad about, until you realize that the average contains someone who got nothing.

    It is quite possible that the Republican members are in areas where Comcast is particularly large, where the democrats are in smaller areas, as an example. The lack of information shows only an attempt to make us draw a conclusion without knowing the whole picture.

    Yes, those who got contributions are signing the letter. However, it's entirely possible that Comcast is also a large employer in their districts, that uncertainty could hurt the people in those districts, and thus, the letter signers are doing so not because of how much their received in contributions, but rather as to how important this issue is the people they represent. Without information to match these guys to Comcast and districts, we just don't know.

    As for Google, well, the do no evil thing was ignored ages ago. Google doesn't want or need net neutrality anymore, they just need a way to pay for better pipes.

     

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

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2014 @ 12:59am

    Re: hard place rock interface

    No one believes you, you cocksucking troll boy.

     

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

  18.  
    icon
    Jay (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 6:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Oh look, he's back...

    The fox guarding the henhouse. But while focused on that, why ignore the immense pressie that can come from ground movements to cause the government to act differently?

     

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

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2014 @ 6:58am

    Re: hard place rock interface

    Apologist rhetoric does not make the bribery of politicians any more palatable, although you seem well versed in its usage. Perhaps a career at Fox News is in your future, if you keep groveling maybe it will happen.

     

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

  20.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 8:13am

    Re: hard place rock interface

    Easy solution to the problem: prohibit corporations from making political contributions.

     

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

  21.  
    icon
    Mat Bastardson (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 8:47am

    Re: Re: hard place rock interface

    This must be some usage of the word 'easy' with which I am unacquainted.

     

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

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2014 @ 9:17am

    Re: hard place rock interface

    I believe we have a winner for the best turd polisher award.

    Congratulations!

     

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

  23.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 9:17am

    Re: Re: Re: hard place rock interface

    Well, yes, I meant "easy" if you ignore the fact that the system is corrupt.

     

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

  24.  
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    nasch (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 11:01am

    Cheap

    I'm struck again by how cheaply our representatives can be bought. Even this is more money than it's taken to sway them on some other issues, and it still isn't that much.

     

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

  25.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 12:04pm

    Re: Cheap

    I forgot who said this, but someone once observed that the really terrible thing about politicians in the US isn't that they can be bought, but that their price is so insultingly low.

     

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

  26.  
    icon
    limbodog (profile), May 21st, 2014 @ 1:07pm

    The GOP has aligned itself with the two companies pretty much universally branded as "not just awful, but god-awful!"

    And they wonder why they have a hard time reaching more people?

     

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


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