Contributions to House Members Lobbying against Net Neutrality from Cable Interests

Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) pictured in foreground

The FCC voted 3-2 on Thursday to approve a notice of proposed rulemaking, initiating a public comment period on several approaches to "protecting and promoting the open internet," including reclassifying the internet as a public utility under Title II of the Communications Act.

The 28 representatives signing letters to the FCC against Title II reclassification of the internet as a public utility, a position allied with the cable industry, have received, on average, $26,832 from the cable industry, 2.3 times more money than the average for all members of the House of Representatives, $11,651.

Republicans signing the letters against Title II reclassification of the internet as a public utility have received, on average, $59,812 from the cable industry, 5 times more than the average for all members of the House, $11,651.

Democrats signing the letters against Title II reclassification of the internet as a public utility have received, on average, $13,640 from the cable industry, 1.2 times more times more than the average for all members of the House, $11,651.

Letter signer Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) has received more money from the cable industry than any other member of the House of Representatives: $109,250 over the last two years. Walden is Chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, which has jurisdiction over the FCC.

Top Five Recipients (Letter Signers) of Contributions from Cable Interests:

  • Greg Walden (R-Ore) has received $109,250
  • Eric Cantor (R-Va.) has received $80,800
  • John Boehner (R-Ohio) has received $75,450
  • Fred Upton (R-Mich.) has received $65,000
  • John Barrow (D-Ga.) has received $60,500

Twenty-nine members of Congress own stock in Comcastmaking Comcast the 25th most held stock among members of Congress. Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.) owns more Comcast stock than any other member.

Methodology: MapLight analysis of campaign contributions to members of Congress from PACs and employees of organizations in the cable and satellite TV production and distribution industry, from January 1, 2012 - December 31, 2013. Data source: OpenSecrets.org Personal Financial Disclosure data source: MapLight analysis of United States Senate's Select Committee on Ethics: http://www.pfd.senate.gov/index.cfm/searchSelect/ and U.S. House of Representatives Office of the Clerk: http://clerk.house.gov/public_disc/financial.aspx

Background:

Letters from members of the House of Representatives to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler:

Letter 1: Signed by Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.), Energy and Commerce Committee Vice Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), and Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Vice Chairman Bob Latta (R-Ohio) expressed "grave concern" over a proposal supported by net neutrality advocates to reclassify the internet as a public utility under Title II of the Communications Act, "Such unwarranted and overreaching government intrusion into the broadband marketplace will harm consumers, halt job creation, curtail investment, stifle innovation, and set America down a dangerous path of micromanaging the Internet."

Letter 2: Led by Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas) and signed by John Barrow (D-Ga.), Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.), George Butterfield (D-N.C.), Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), Corrine Brown (D-Fla.), Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.), William Owens (D-N.Y.), Loretta Sanchez (D-Ca.), Albio Sires (D-N.J.), Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.), Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), Marc Veasey (D-Texas), Lacey Clay (D-Mo.), Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), Scott Peters (D-Ca.), Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), and David Scott (D-Ga.), "While we still have further to go to ensure that the benefits of broadband reach all Americans, we are concerned that opening the door to subjecting broadband service to a wide array of regulatory burdens and restrictions, including imposing Title II, might halt this progress."

Letter 3: Signed by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Ca.), and House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), "As we continue to ask the world to keep their hands off the Internet and to allow people to freely engage with each other, we should lead by example and reject calls to return to a bygone model of network regulation."

Comcast, America's largest cable internet provider, agrees with the four Republicans. In a recent FCC filing, Comcast said, "Title II would spark massive instability, create investor and marketplace uncertainty, derail planned investments, and slow broadband adoption."

Image source: House GOP Leader/Flickr

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