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Let’s Play Follow the Money – Part 1

Jay Ovittore May 18, 2009 AT&T, Community Networks, Public Policy & Gov't 16 Comments
Following the Money: Cable's Best Friends in North Carolina Get a Payday

Following the Money: Telecom's Best Friends in North Carolina Get a Payday

If there is one thing I know about how politics work, it is that when you follow the money you find the reason certain people are pushing so hard to get legislation through.  After doing some intensive research into the Senators involved with S1004, I found a trail of money that leads right back to the Cable/Telecom industry.  S1004 was primarily sponsored by Senator David Hoyle (D-Gaston County) and was co-sponsored by Sen Debbie Clary (R-Cleveland and Rutherford Counties).

Sen. David Hoyle (D-NC)

Sen. David Hoyle (D-NC)

What made me think to look in the first place was the quotes in the local paper by Hoyle.

You can expect to see 1004 on the Senate floor and sent over to the House soon, said Sen. David Hoyle, its sponsor. Hoyle says he doesn’t much care how it gets studied, as long as it gets there.  “It’s an issue that needs to be looked at,” Hoyle said. “All the parties need to get in the same room and defend their position.”

Add that to a Hoyle quote reported on Facebook by the Greensboro News & Record’s Mark Binker, “I take great pride in being a pro-business member of the Senate.” Now I had to look.

What I found was that Hoyle took a total of $25,750 in telecom industry PAC money in 2008.  Embarq Employees PAC gave $4500, Time Warner PAC gave $4250,  AT&T PAC gave $4000, NC Cable PAC gave $2500, Sprint/Nextel PAC gave $3000, NC Broadcast PAC gave $1500, NC Association of Broadcasters PAC gave $4000 and ElectriCities gave $2000.  That last donor is particularly interesting, because their lobbyist, Drew Saunders, also happened to sponsor a nearly identical bill in  2007.

It is easy to see why Hoyle is pushing this legislation so hard for his telecom buddies: $25,750 is a lot of money for a state politician.  Most people don’t make much more than that in a single year working 40 hours a week.

Co-sponsor Clary has not been very outspoken on this bill, but her total take from telecom industry PACs was considerably lower as well, amounting to $4750.  Embarq Employees PAC gave her $1500, Time Warner PAC gave $1000, AT&T PAC gave $1750, and ElectriCities gave $500.

Other big players in the North Carolina Senate are also cashing their industry checks, and the details are forthcoming.  Next, my attention will turn to the sponsors of HB 1252 in the North Carolina House.  Soon, we’ll all know exactly how much is takes to get big telecom’s legislative agenda passed into law in the North Carolina General Assembly.

All information I have provided above was a matter of public records search at the NC State Board of Elections website.

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techzen
techzen
12 years ago

Paying people off so they will vote the way you want them to. To pass laws that will affect the entire state, or even nation. I will never understand how that bribery is even legal. Boggles my mind…

jr
jr
12 years ago

Prostitutes serving their corporate johns

Rob
Rob
12 years ago

This is how politics works in America. Our state and federal representatives are for sale to the highest bidder.

It is legal because no one would dare pass a law or regulation to make these legal bribes illegal. There is too much money to be made. Kind of make me sick to think how this whole process works. Kind of shows we are no longer a democratic country when you can buy votes.

Tim
Tim
12 years ago

Just another reason I am for term limits. 2 years and you are out! You can’t run for that position ever again but you may run for a higher or even a lower position. Folks, the problem is called “career” politicians. These guys get in office and stay in office for decades and feel they can do anything they want! They look it as a “career” for them rather as service to the people they are suppose to represent. If you want change, the good old fashion way of voting them out doesn’t work, so we need to get them… Read more »

Lars
Lars
12 years ago
Reply to  Tim

Tim,

I disagree that term limits are necessarily the solution. Active voter participation and watchdogs are the solution. Some politicians become fairly well versed experts in the issues facing their constituents. If these politicians carry out the will of those they represent, I think that’s better than having to re-train a new person every few years. But again, that all depends on the electorate being informed and engaged.

Lars

Tim
Tim
12 years ago
Reply to  Lars

Lars, we already have what you suggested. It doesn’t work bro. The term limits I suggested would have new “blood” rotating in and out of office. The problem is that these guys get in there, stay for decades, and are corruptible because of it. Two years should be long enough for any person running for office to get done what they want done. Also, most voters, don’t apprise themselves on the issues enough to make a conscious logical decision. Most just vote party lines regardless of what that person did or is doing and that is the extent of their… Read more »

KP
KP
12 years ago
Reply to  Tim

I wish the term-limit idea were as effective as its fans say it is. Consider what would happen: with a 2-year limit in particular, all legislators would be rookies and would spend most of the first year setting up their office, hiring staff, and generally learning the ropes. Then they’d be out. In all likelihood, the same staff would be hired by each of the legislators elected to the next term, then the next, ad infinitum. Power would shift to these career political staffers and they, along with career civil servants, would be the ones receiving the political contributions; they… Read more »

Tim
Tim
12 years ago
Reply to  KP

You assume it would take a year to set up “house”. I think it wouldn’t. The “elections” you pointed out don’t work. These guys stay in office for decades. Most people, like I said before, don’t apprise themselves of the issues and just vote party lines like a automaton. Politicians know this and play on it. I asked one of the people when I went to vote one time, “Does the ordering tell you which is the incumbent or not?” She all of a sudden got this dumbfounded look on her face because she didn’t even know what I was… Read more »

KP
KP
12 years ago
Reply to  Tim

I’m reluctant to belabor the issue of term limits, but since the legalized corruption of politicians is routinely how commercial interests do business, I think it’s relevant. It’s no accident that telecom companies generally get the legislation that they want; and make no mistake, just because Time Warner has backed down for now over caps doesn’t meant they’ve abandoned the idea. They’ll be back having learned their lesson from their initial rebuff, and their next attack will be so widely spread that an organized counter-movement will be more difficult. If you are looking to term limits to remove corruption from… Read more »

techzen
techzen
12 years ago

I totally agree Tim.

Earl Cooley III
Earl Cooley III
12 years ago

A comprehensive list of politicians who have taken telecom money (in particular, those beholden to Time Warner Cable) would be very useful, as it would allow us to not waste time making appeals to politicians who have already been bought.

Tim
Tim
12 years ago

Also, I would like to pose a question to everyone here. How many people can “vote” themselves a raise bypassing the good ole boss? No one? Most of these politicians have mucho dinero before they even run for office. They are either millionaires or from privileged families. They get in there and vote themselves raises like they need the money. Running for office shouldn’t be about the money. Matter of fact, I believe you should get paid only a bare minimum because it shouldn’t be about money but service to your country and its people. Some of these guys go… Read more »

Earl Cooley III
Earl Cooley III
12 years ago

I am afraid that we’ll lose focus if this discussion devolves into random political neepery.

Tim
Tim
12 years ago

Neepery? I tried looking that word up on websters and couldn’t find it. Not trying to imply anything, it is just when I see a word I don’t know, I look it up. But anyways. I think I get your point Earl. Yes, we do need to get back on topic. I was merely pointing out how corruptible these politicians are and how something needs to be done about it. Anyways, back to the cap…

Tim
Tim
12 years ago

KP, that link I gave you, wasn’t to show you difference between the two forms of government but to show you that our forefathers knew the dangers of a Democracy. If you want to know the difference between the two and you seem like a smart guy, you need to do the research since your “poorly suggested assertions” that they are the same animals are dead wrong. I am not going to hold your hand and post links for you to read. Do it yourself out of a willingness to know bud. “such as enforcement of existing and – if… Read more »

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