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SBC Gets The Best Government Its Money Can Buy

SBC forked out at least $16.3 million for behind-the-scenes lobbying in state houses between 2003 and 2004, and another $10.1 million directly to state and local candidates from 1999 to 2004, says a recent report. SBC's goal, just like the rest of Big Telecom who are big spenders on pols: Take money out of your pockets.
SBC spending numbers come from a report by The Center for Public Integrity, which found that telecom companies overall spent a whopping $44.8 million to lobby state houses in 2004, a 36% increase over the $33 million they spent in 2003.

All this cash seems to be money well-spent for the telecom companies, the report notes. Right now, states are where the action is regarding telecom law. The report points out that 5,187 bills introduced or passed into law from 1993 through the first half of 2005 "contained all or part of the word 'telecommunications' in their summaries."

Here's just one example of the big payoff for Big Telecom: In Florida, the state legislature pushed through a bill allowing phone rates to be raised by anywhere from 26 percent to 90 percent, according to a report.

Big Telecom is also trying to outlaw local governments from setting up their own wireless networks as well. And there are plenty of other issues being debated as well.

All this makes pols very happy -- it means more money in their pockets.

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