via DSL Reports
by Karl Bode
April 17, 2017

Most people realize that Congress’ party-line vote to kill the FCC’s consumer broadband privacy rules earlier this month was a clear, albeit grotesque, example of pay-to-play American politics. Especially given the majority of Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike thought the rules should have remained in place. But how overt of a display of pay-to-play politics was it? The Intercept looked at campaign finance filings and found that the Senators and Representatives that voted to kill the rules received significantly more cash from broadband providers.

Arizona Senator Jeff Flake and Tennessee Representative Marsha Blackburn were of a particular focus for large ISP lobbying organizations (specifically the CTIA and the US Telecom Association) and their campaign contributions:

A Verizon political action committee filing shows that most lawmakers received between $500 and $1,000 from the firm during the first three months of this year. But Flake received $8,000 and Blackburn received $4,500.
Blackburn received $5,000 from the CTIA, the most of any House member. Speaker Paul Ryan only received $2,500 from the group during the same time period…The US Telecom Association, which includes CenturyLink and Verizon, also singled out Blackburn for more donations than any other lawmaker in the beginning of this year, providing $3,000 to her campaign account.

Of course many Tennessee residents are familiar with Blackburn’s particular brand of “help,” especially her support of state level laws — usually quite literally written by AT&T and Comcast — that prohibit towns and cities from improving their local broadband networks.

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