from the bad-faith-bullshit dept
Like many companies, AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon recently made a big stink about how they were pausing all PAC spending in supposed disgust at the insurrectionists in Congress whose bullshit resulted in a fatal riot at the Capitol. As noted already, that doesn’t mean all that much. PAC spending is usually paused after an election to help get the lay of the land. Also, pausing PAC spending for a bit doesn’t really justify the four years they spent enabling and normalizing fascism and bigotry just to nab merger approvals, deregulatory favors, and massive, pointless tax breaks.
Granted while Comcast and friends paused direct PAC spending to the alt-reality, anti-democratic bullshit artists in Congress, it’s worth noting that their umbrella lobbying and policy organizations didn’t. Sure, Comcast temporarily suspended PAC spending, but the NCTA, which largely represents cable giants like Comcast, didn’t:
“NCTA ? The Internet & Television Association counts as a member Comcast, which said it would cut off objectors indefinitely. The trade group?s PAC donated the maximum $10,000 to the joint fundraising committee of McCarthy, as well as other objecting Republican House members: $6,000 to Jim Jordan of Ohio, $4,000 to Elise Stefanik of New York, and $2,000 to Rep. Greg Pence of Indiana. NCTA?s president and CEO Michael Powell tweeted during the riots, ?This is a sad and deeply disturbing moment for our nation??, but did not respond to a tweet from a Virginia constituent of objector Rep. Morgan Griffith about the group?s future donations to objectors.”
It’s a lovely example of how much of this opposition is performative nonsense that obscures these companies’ and groups’ culpability in normalizing, enabling, and profiting off of a historically corrupt authoritarian and obvious bigot. Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, the only remaining major wireless players after Trump’s FCC greenlit job and competition killing industry mergers, also put on a show about how they had paused PAC spending, only to have umbrella trade organizations like the CTIA continue funding politicians its membership pretends to be outraged by:
“CTIA ? The Wireless Association includes Verizon, which is pausing donations to objectors through 2021, and AT&T, pausing indefinitely to the objectors, and the group has not yet published a statement about the Electoral College challenge on its website or Twitter account. The group?s PAC contributed $2,000 to McCarthy?s campaign and $4,000 to Rep. Steve Scalise of Oklahoma, as well as $1,500 to Rep. Jordan and $1,000 to Sen. Rick Scott.”
Of course this isn’t just happening in telecom. Countless companies engaged in the same PAC spending theater only to have their primary trade and lobbying organizations continue on happily as if these opportunistic lawmakers aren’t culpable for the death of five (technically seven if you include post-event suicides) people. Even then, most of these companies will reboot normal PAC spending the very millisecond they detect that the public outrage has minimized or shifted even slightly, which you can almost already feel occurring.
Either we’re serious about punishing lawmakers who used bullshit to encourage insurrection or we aren’t, and there’s every indication that most of these efforts are more public relations patty cake than serious contrition.