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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

AT&T Gives Local Political Consultant $50K

posted by on May 21 at 9:24 AM

The latest lobbying disclosure reports show that AT&T spent $5.2 million on lobbying in the first quarter of 2008. Much of the money was spent on the telecom company’s efforts to persuade Congress to grant them immunity from lawsuits for their participation in helping the U.S. government violate your 4th Amendment rights by spying on you for the NSA.

According to, $50,000 of AT&T’s first quarter spending went to Mercury Strategies, a Seattle political shop, that has focused on another pet AT&T cause—one that is antithetical to the interests of Seattle net content providers like …

As a major Internet Service Provider, AT&T has been fighting against legislation to secure Net Neutrality—the concept that no matter what web address you type in to your browser— or … Boy Scouts of America or Teenage—it will show up on your monitor with equal speed and clarity.

ISPs like AT&T want to be able to deliver high-paying customers’ sites to your computer faster, while relegating indie sites to Internet back roads.

It’d be as if rich people who pay more for using more water also got faster, hotter water.

I’ve reported on Mercury’s anti-net neutrality work in the past, like when they set out to thwart U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee’s efforts to ensure net neutrality back in 2006.

Indeed, AT&T and its lobbyists have been successful in blocking net neutrality legislation for several years now.

However, there’s new pro-net neutrality legislation queued up in D.C., and as the NYT editorialized earlier this week, it’s time to pass it.

It’s always a gas when there’s a local angle on a prominent NYT editorial.

p.s. to the Mercury people I met last night: Sorry. Got home last night after teasing you about your past AT&T work and did my quick website gazing before going to bed, and this whole AT&T lobbying money story showed up. So, I had to see if Mercury was still on the list. And yep.

p.p.s. For those keeping score: Obama is for net neutrality legislation McCain is against.

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As a former employee of one of the devil-spawn subsidiaries of AT&T, I can vouch that the wild ass cowboys from Texas (SBC)who bought Mother are a bunch of dick weed, Dubya lovin' Republican ass wipes. Reach out and touch someone, my ass. More like reach out and grab them by the nuts before turning them over to the NSA.

Posted by QuimbyMcF | May 21, 2008 9:30 AM

this falls under the category of price discrimination. and from the firm's perspective it is a good thing. from a consumer's perspective it might be unfair but really people are getting the service and product they are willing to pay for.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | May 21, 2008 9:33 AM

further, there exists alternatives for this bullshit too.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | May 21, 2008 9:34 AM


Posted by Mr. Poe | May 21, 2008 9:36 AM

oh yeah, how are the stranger staff deciding what to bold? is this something that they learned through hanging out together is this actually taught in school? I ask because everyone on the staff does it and it makes the use of bolding useless because it is used so often.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | May 21, 2008 9:39 AM

It's not just that.

Net neutrality means ISPs have no reason to "inspect" your emails, and other message traffic, including videos.

If we let them "shape" traffic, we let them spy on us.

Posted by Will in Seattle | May 21, 2008 10:50 AM

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