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Americans for Prosperity Pro-Corporate Front Group Behind Calls Harassing NC Residents

Phillip Dampier May 4, 2009 Community Networks, Editorial & Site News, Public Policy & Gov't 2 Comments
North Carolina residents get pro-industry "push poll" calls.

North Carolina residents get pro-industry "push poll" calls.

When it comes to representing the rights and profits of big business, there is no better friend to turn to than “Americans for Prosperity,” a front group designed to protect the prosperity of big corporate interests and their fat cat friends who write checks to keep these groups in business.

The group’s “North Carolina chapter” has recently been exposed as being behind a scam push poll operation and harassing recorded message campaign calling residents in or near communities with planned municipal broadband systems.  The messages, and the group, attempt to put a conservative political spin on municipal broadband, hoodwinking state residents into thinking there is some sort of government takeover of broadband in the state, financed with tax dollars.

Of course, the municipal broadband systems under consideration in the state are being financed by bond issues that do not co-mingle taxpayer funds, and the systems are designed to be self-sustaining through subscription revenues.  Many were built from expanding municipal fiber networks originally intended to serve local government.  They are being proposed in areas where incumbent cable and telephone companies have deemed those communities “sufficiently served” by broadband, at inadequate speeds and high prices (and soon to be much higher if tiered pricing returns).

So why does a group like “Americans for Prosperity,” get involved in an issue like this?  Because its big donor network of large corporate players makes it so.  AFP traditionally attempts to latch onto conservative political messages and oppose government involvement in the private sector.  But their fundamental error assumes that conservatives will not want competition from as many sources as possible to guarantee good quality service and reasonable pricing.  Since the municipal broadband projects under consideration are not taxpayer financed, perhaps the AFP cause might have something more to do with their donor list, which they refuse to disclose.  Has any cable company, telephone company, or associated trade association donated big money to AFP to fight municipal broadband?  We simply don’t know because they refuse to say.

In the meantime, if you are being subjected to phone calls from this group, the best thing to do is simply to hang up, or if the recording offers to put you through to your local elected officials, on AFP’s dime, go ahead and let them.  And then tell your elected officials to OPPOSE HB 1252, and also let them know a front group that promotes this bill has sunk so low, they are harassing you with telephone calls trying to get you confused.  Tell your representatives big cable’s campaign on confusion isn’t going to work.  Ask them to make sure they oppose HB 1252, a bill hand-crafted by anti-competitive cable companies trying to pick your pocket and keep North Carolina in a broadband backwater.

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