AT&T spending its way to deregulation in Florida, Tennessee

How much money is AT&T spending for getting landline deregulation bills in Florida and Tennessee? AT&T is reported to have 72 registered lobbyists in Florida working toward passage of a bill to deregulate landline phone service, while the company has 20 lobbyists in Tennessee and contributed nearly $180,000 to state lawmakers through its PAC.

In Florida the Senate has finally moved a phone-rate bill out of the Commerce Committee on a 6-4 vote, while a nearly identical bill in the House is on track for a floor vote. Senate supporters of the deregulation bill had to lower annual rate increases from 20 percent down to 10 percent, and most customers will essentially have rates frozen into 2011. Even if the deregulation bill is passed by the Florida Legislature, Governor Charlie Crist has hinted he might veto it.

AT&T's Tennessee lobbying expenditures have been brought to light by the Chattanooga Times Free Press. According to state records, the company's political action committee has contributed nearly $180,000 to lawmakers, their PACs or party organizations, supplementing efforts by 20 lobbyists. Among the largest contributions AT&T has made to Tennessee politicians includes $18,000 to the House-Senate Democratic Caucus, $10,000 to the Tennessee Democratic Party, $12,400 to the Tennessee Republican Caucus, and $6000 to the Tennessee Republican Party. In addition, the Tennessee Governor has received $2,000, and his PAC got another $8,000 from AT&T.

For more:
- Orlando Sentinel/ updates Florida action. Article.
- Chattanooga Times Free Press calls attention to AT&T‘s lobbying investment Article.

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