Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Phone Companies Spend More on Lobbyists

This article talks about the millions that BST, ATT, VZ and other phone companies spent on lobbyists JUST in Florida in 2006.

"BellSouth spent at least $1.6-million on Florida lobbyists last year, according to newly filed disclosure reports — more than twice as much as any other business spent to influence state government." For 31 lobbyists, plus the salaries & expenses of the 5 full-time lobbyists that BST employs. "AT&T spent $601,000 to hire 19 lobbyists in 2006." "Verizon and other telephone companies spent about $1-million to hire an additional 63 lobbyists. On the other side, cable companies and the Florida Cable Telecommunications Association spent $571,000 to hire 34 lobbyists. In addition to lobbying dollars, the money has poured in via campaign contributions. Over the past four years, BellSouth and AT&T put an additional $3.5-million into state political campaigns and Verizon and other telephone companies contributed $1.8-million. The cable groups, meanwhile, have dumped $770,141 into campaign coffers. [St. Pete Times]

But this was the best:

“It’s really about opening the marketplace so consumers can have more choices, better services and lower prices,’’ said AT&T spokesman Bill Marks. “Our vision is to be the only company that customers will ever want. We believe House Bill 529 will achieve all of this." [St. Pete Times]

What he meant was: Our vision is to be the only company.

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