The Lobbying Game on Net Neutrality

Hands off the Internet started a stupid blog without comments.  The whole approach to honest discourse online has been a series of sneers, and they found out that doesn't work yesterday when every Democrat went against them.  Hands Off though is only one of several groups.  Telco money is everywhere; every Congressmen is getting multiple visits from telco lobbyists on the issue, and the telcos are spending on the order of $1 million a week on this fight.  

And McCurry isn't a hard core legislative guy, he's a PR person.  There are other lobbyists doing the hard core wrangling of legislators.  For instance, I learned from several sources and a press release on a web site that our old friend Steve Elmendorf is lobbying for the telcos.  It didn't matter of course; the Democrats were whipped into shape by Conyers, Pelosi, and the internet.

This is a sea change in Democratic culture.  The lobbyist driven machinery is being gummed up on the Democratic side.  I'm not going to say that the blogs and the internet are totally responsible for this, since corporate funds being cut off to Democrats has a lot to do with the shift.  

I do think that lobbying for illiberal policies is going to get harder for Clinton Kewl Kid operatives.  

Tags: conyers, House Judiciary Committee, HR 5417, Internet Freedom and Nondiscrimination Act, net neutrality, Sensenbrenner (all tags)

Comments

6 Comments

Re: The Lobbying Game on Net Neutrality

The funny thing is their attempts to use bogus blogs and astroturf against a hard core of experienced internet users.  Don't they know they'll get caught before the pixels are dry?

by drlimerick 2006-05-26 07:54AM | 0 recs
Re: The Lobbying Game on Net Neutrality

I'm sure there are lobbying dollars going the other way.  Obviously, Google, Amazon and Microsoft are strongly in favor of net neutrality, and I recently read that a financial services lobbying group is pro-net neutrality.  Which basically equates to Wall St being pro-net neutrality.  It makes sense, the telcos are only a few companies that stand to benefit.  Many more companies stand to lose.  

The telcos were hoping to slip this through quietly, as a little rider on the end of a bill that opens up the market for cable services.  The blogosphere's real contribution here is getting the word out, and getting the issue noticed.  

Once the companies that could be adversely affected took notice (or take notice), well, killing net neutrality doesn't stand a chance.  Appease AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast and piss off Google, Microsoft, CitiBank, Chase, Amazon, Yahoo, E-Trade, NASDAQ, and about 400 other Fortune 500 companies?  That just doesn't make sense for any congressman.

by JJCPA 2006-05-26 09:22AM | 0 recs
Call Them On It.

Use their "Contact" email address to call Bu;;s**t on them: info@handsoff.org

Send them a loud & clear message that we're on to them, and we're going to out them.

Make the Subject something like, "NO ASTROTURFING!". Then include a message like, "Net Neutrality Rules!"

by dabuddy 2006-05-26 11:29AM | 0 recs
Vote was good - but not *that* good!

the Democrats were whipped into shape by Conyers, Pelosi, and the internet.

As JJCPA points out, there was big money on our side too. And Sensenbrenner steaming mad - without that, there'd have been no HR 5417 on which to whip Dems into shape.

It was a solid performance from the Dems - Conyers delivered his troops, Jimmy S lost most of his. That's worth noting in the book and a chuckle or two.

But

This is a sea change in Democratic culture.  The lobbyist driven machinery is being gummed up on the Democratic side.

is pure druther. Or, at least, is unsupported by the evidence of that one committee vote.

The fact is that, despite its dozen years in the wilderness, Dem parties and MCs in Congress have been pretty good at keeping  their funding going. (From memory, most industry groups favor the GOP by only 2:1, despite the party having had the trifecta since 2001.)

And, if (please God, let it be!) the Dems win control of one or both houses in November, that ratio is bound to improve. With both houses, perhaps to 50:50.

At the very least, with a change of control, Dem honchos are suddenly going to find themselves very popular with some very wealthy folks.

No pol or party is legally required to take mega-corporation or lobbyist contributions. The Dems could take a stand and turn them down.

But they won't. Even if (how could it be done?) they could find untainted replacement sources of finance, they wouldn't want to.

Why? Because, if Dem honchos spurned the mega-corporations, chances are that they'd concentrate their attentions across the aisle. And by attentions, I mean moolah, of course.

Go for public funding, get a constitutional amendment banning private contributions, different story.

Under the current law, there's no way out, that I can see.

by skeptic06 2006-05-26 12:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Vote was good - but not *that* good!

Pelosi, in some interview (anyone remember which one?) about what the Dems would do if they retook the house, said that she's for public financing of elections. Will she risk following through on that? I don't have much faith in her, but one can always hope.

by grg 2006-05-26 01:28PM | 0 recs
Re: The Lobbying Game on Net Neutrality

Anytheeng that makes Elmendorf grumpy ees muy bueno by me.

so.

by El Gato Negro 2006-05-26 11:26PM | 0 recs

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