Net Neutrality Foes Spent Millions In 2014

Posted by Jay Riestenberg on November 13, 2014

By now you have probably heard of “net neutrality.” Net neutrality, which would guarantee everyone equal access to the open internet, is a policy the Federal Communications Commission is currently considering and is supported by 81% of Americans across the political spectrum. The policy has been endorsed by everyone from comedian John Oliver to President Barack Obama.

To no one’s surprise, the big telecom industry has long opposed true net neutrality protections, and those same corporations spent big money on the recent 2014 elections. A Common Cause analysis of data from the Center for Responsive Politics and the Institute for Money in State Politics shows that Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, Time Warner Cable, and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association spent more than $42.8 million in political contributions during the 2014 election cycle, both on the state and federal level.

2014 Contributions From Net Neutrality Opponents Chart(click for bigger)

The largest spender was AT&T, which spent $11.3 million on state political contributions and over $4 million on federal contributions. Comcast fell behind AT&T, spending $7.3 million on state contributions and close to $4.5 million on federal contributions. These totals, however, do not include funding these companies and corporate trade groups funneled to dark money political nonprofits that are not required to disclose their donors.

2014 Contributions From Net Neutrality Opponents

Who Got The Most?

The top recipient of big telecom’s funding on the federal level are party committees. Individual candidates who receive the most include Republican House Speaker John Boehner ($98,175 from Comcast) and Democratic Senator Mark Pryor ($88,650 from Comcast, TWC, and National Cable and Telecom. Assn.). According to an analysis by Gizmodo, members of congressional committees in the House and Senate that oversee internet regulation received over $1.8 million from Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Verizon, AT&T, and the National Cable and Telecommunication Association.

Federal Congressional Committees’ 2014 Funding from Big Telecom

National Republican Congressional Committee

 $496,807.00

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee

 $262,206.00

National Republican Senatorial Committee

 $252,125.00

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee

 $204,954.00

Republican National Committee

 $113,291.00

Democratic National Committee

 $85,445.00

SOURCE: Center for Responsive Politics

On the state level, the largest recipient was the Florida Republican Party, which received contributions from Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon totaling $727,350. Governors in California and New York, the only two states where public service commissions are reviewing the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger, also took big money from both Comcast and Time Warner Cable. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo received exactly $60,800 from both Comcast and Time Warner Cable (totaling $121,600). California Governor Jerry Brown received $54,400 from Time Warner Cable and $27,200 from Comcast. AT&T also gave both Cuomo and Brown big donations ($108,800 for Brown and $56,500 for Cuomo).

Office: Common Cause National

Issues: Money in Politics, Media and Democracy

Tags: Broadband for All, Exposing Corporate Power

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