Telcos Pump Cash into Rockefeller’s Coffers

Over at Threat Level Ryan Single reports that all of a sudden, Senator Rockefeller, the putative custodian of legislation to give telecommunications companies immunity from privacy lawsuits, is getting lots of cash from such companies. And most of these donations come from out-of-state donors (Verizon and AT&T employees who do not live in West Virginia). Suspicious! Single reports:

Top Verizon executives, including CEO Ivan Seidenberg and President Dennis Strigl, wrote personal checks to Rockefeller totaling $23,500 in March, 2007. Prior to that apparently coordinated flurry of 29 donations, only one of those executives had ever donated to Rockefeller (at least while working for Verizon).

In fact, prior to 2007, contributions to Rockefeller from company executives at AT&T and Verizon were mostly non-existent.

But that changed around the same time that the companies began lobbying Congress to grant them retroactive immunity from lawsuits seeking billions for their alleged participation in secret, warrantless surveillance programs that targeted Americans.

Source: Threat Level

What’s so amazing is how it doesn’t take a lot of cash to influence politics…A few thousand here and a few thousand there, and you’ve got yourself something.


  1. A few thousand here and a few thousand there, and you’ve got yourself something.

    That’s always been odd — almost as if there’s a secret decoder ring needed to understand the whole transaction because it doesn’t make math sense. One sees that political contributions that amount to tens of thousands to the candidates reap back government contracts or favor that amounts to millions if not billions. Of course connections and pedigree matter too.

    It’s sort of white trash economics where I may pay an employee $100 to turn his back so that I could pull a truck up to the employer’s back door and steal the whole inventory. The employee doesn’t own the stock anyway, so $100 pocketed is ahead for him. Very NJ mob.

  2. @Ted, I’m sure that they are also giving to Rockefeller’s PACs, so the total may be more than $25k, but if Verizon/AT&T/etc get immunity, it’s worth hundreds of millions. A good investment!

  3. An article today along the same lines:

    A wealthy contributor (Republican at that) contributes ~$30K to Hillary and Schumer and gets a $1M earmark, for a Woodstock Museum.

    Now — I’m for sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll as much as the next person growing up in the 60s-70s, but a museum, is NOT sex, drugs and rock-n-roll, not even a close second.

    Thankfully, the always fiscally responsible and compassionate republicans — Tom Coburn among — nixed that in the bud and sought to redirect the money to a maternal health care program.

    The Republicans are looking good again, is all I’m saying.

  4. While I’m also sickened by this and do think there is truth to what you say here about influence and money, you have to be careful not to confuse correlation with causation. Because there was another major variable that also accounts for increased donations from 2006 to 2007 – The Dems retook the Senate, so Rockefeller went from a minority senator to majority senator and the Chair of a powerful committee – that also is likely to have increased his donations, not just from telecoms, but from EVERYONE. It would be more useful to compare the increase with his giving from other, non-telecom givers.

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