Telecoms Spent $1B+ Lobbying Congress: $295M from 2012-2015 and $80M in 2018 – Expected to Increase

By B.N. Frank

Activist Post has reported before about the enormous sums of money that telecom companies have spent lobbying American legislators (see 1, 2, 3). More smarmy details have recently been published by Forbes magazine.

From Scientists4WiredTech (emphasis added):

How Telecoms Spent North of $1 Billion Lobbying Congress

By AJ Dellinger | Original Forbes article here.

In April 2018 the two telecom companies announced a $26.5 billion combination. The deal would combine the nation’s third- and fourth-largest wireless companies and bulk them up to a similar size to Verizon and AT&T, the industry giants.

From 1998 to 2018, telecommunications and cable companies including AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, Charter and others have dumped more than $1.2 billion into the pockets of Congress in attempts to win favor with lawmakers. Figures compiled by Comparitech found that America’s largest phone and internet providers show that** recent years have only seen lobbying costs increase**. 2018 was the highest individual year for telecom lobbying, with $80 million being spent by ISPs—and it’s only expected to continue increasing.

Many telecom companies kick up their lobbying efforts when they are about to face additional scrutiny from lawmakers.

  • AT&T racked up $23 million in lobbying charges in 1999— the most the company has ever spent in a single year—when it was readying itself to make an $81 billion acquisition of major competitor Ameritech.
  • Likewise, Comcast spent more than $19 million to curry favor in 2011 when it decided to acquire NBC Universal.
  • T-Mobile parent company has spent more than $8 million in each of the last three years as it cozies up to legislators ahead of its attempts to acquire Sprint and consolidate two of the four largest mobile carriers in the country.

Over the last two decades, the telecom industry has seen a significant amount of consolidation. They have also come under additional scrutiny, especially as it relates to privacy and control over the internet. Since the Federal Communications Commission under the Obama administration introduced and passed the Open Internet Order in 2010 in an effort to establish and protect net neutrality, lobbying from internet service providers has spiked.

While telecom companies gave to both parties in nearly equal measures throughout the last decade, they have found considerably more support from Republican politicians. The Trump administration’s FCC has since overturned the rules that protected net neutrality — a concept that prevented ISPs from blocking, censoring or slowing the flow of data online. Telecom giants also scored a victory when lawmakers voted to reverse an FCC rule that prevented ISPs from selling consumer data without explicit permission. That vote took place primarily on party lines, and every representative that voted in favor of the measure was a Republican.

Given the recent successes telecom companies have had, it seems likely they will continue to spend large chunks of their cash on lobbying. As states begin to launch their own efforts to pass and enforce internet privacy laws, ISPs may start dumping more money into state and local elections. It also seems likely that major battles will continue to take place at the federal level, resulting in even more spending. Comparitech found that spending from 2016 to 2019 is expected to exceed lobbying expenses from 2012 to 2015, which totaled $295 million.

Of course, legislators aren’t the only ones who have sold out to the telecoms 20+ years ago, The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) replaced the EPA as the regulatory body appointed to protect Americans from the telecom industry. They are NOT a health or environmental agency. Instead of protecting the public they HAVE shamelessly catered to telecoms for decades. The agency has become MUCH MORE DANGEROUS since Trump was elected (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12).

Lawsuits have been filed against the FCC for NOT protecting the public from unsafe levels of radiation as well as 5G on Earth (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) and in space. Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), several Native American tribal groups, and a group of telecom experts are among those who have filed. Another lawsuit has recently been proposed to save Lake Tahoe and other environmentally sensitive areas from being saturated with 5G and WiFi.

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Despite research proving harm, the agency refuses to update 24-year-old federal RF radiation exposure guidelines. Doctors and scientists have asked MANY TIMES and again recently that health and environmental risks from RF radiation (including 5G) from cell towers and other wireless sources be evaluated by experts with no conflicts of interest (see also 1, 2, 3). Other American conflicts of interest with the telecom industry include The New York Times partnering with Verizon to create a 5G Journalism Lab. Yeah, that.

The majority of scientists worldwide oppose 5G until there are studies that show it’s safe. Cities AND entire countries have taken action to ban, delay, halt, and limit installation AS WELL AS issue moratoriums on deployment. In the U.S. 5G lawsuits have been filed by municipalities against the FCC.

Municipal legislators have passed resolutions to ban it until studies prove it’s safe (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) and ordinances to limit and/or control installation. State representatives in Hawaii and Illinois have introduced bills. Congress members have confronted the FCC with their concerns (see 1, 2). American opposition also includes federal agencies and other credible experts who warn 5G could threaten jobs, national security, public safety, and weather forecasting accuracy (see 1, 2, 3, 4).

Despite increasing opposition and warnings, it continues to be promoted and deployed in the U.S (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8). In fact, Trump reintroduced his proposal for a nationalized 5G program in August and this has ticked off even more Americans.

Activist Post reports regularly about the telecom corruption and unsafe technology. For more information visit our archives and the following websites.

Image: Pixabay

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