Progress and Freedom Foundation

 

The Progress and Freedom Foundation (PFF) is a Washington, DC think tank that "studies the digital revolution and its implications for public policy."[18]   PFF supports a deregulatory, market-based approach to communications policy, which isn't surprising given the number of corporate sponsors PFF has.

 

The Progress and Freedom Foundation's list of corporate donors reads like a who's who list of the telecommunications industry.  Telephone companies like AT&T, BellSouth, and Verizon; technology companies like Microsoft and Intel; telecom trade associations like the National Cable & Telecommunications Association and the Entertainment Software Association; cable companies like Comcast and Time Warner; cell phone companies like T-Mobile and Sprint; and broadcasters like Clear Channel Communications and Viacom[19]  have all helped fill PFF's coffers to the tune of a $3 million per year operating budget.[20]  To PFF's credit, they do disclose their list of supporters - but not the donation amounts - publicly on their website.

 

The companies seem to be getting what they pay for.  In recent months, "experts" at the Progress and Freedom Foundation have supported


One final note: Just about every policy paper authored by a PFF staffer contains some version of the following boilerplate - "The views expressed here are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of The Progress and Freedom Foundation, its officers or Board of Directors."[21]   Why would PFF be so afraid of taking a policy stance?  Do they fear that going on the record or offering an organizational opinion could cost them corporate dollars down the road?

 

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Footnotes:

 

[18] Progress and Freedom Foundation, "Our Mission," at http://www.pff.org/about/ (last visited 15 Mar 2006).  Back to report.
[19] Progress and Freedom Foundation, "Supporters," at http://www.pff.org/about/supporters.html (last visited 15 Mar 2006).  Back to report.

[20] According to 2004 Internal Revenue Service Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax, publicly available on GuideStar.org.  Back to report.

[21] Based on an examination of communications policy papersavailableathttp://www.pff.org/issues-pubs/pubs_search_results.asp?Page=1&ddPub=All&ddAuthor=All&ddTopic= Communications&ddYear=0000&ddMonth=00 (last visited 15 Mar 2006).  Back to report.