March 1, 2012

Congressman Who Blasted “Corporate Control Of Our Democracy” Attends Fundraiser Hosted By AT&T Lobbyist

Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) wouldn't explain why an AT&T lobbyist was throwing him a fundraiser.

Republic Report’s Suzanne Merkelson also contributed reporting to this piece.

Last November, Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) introduced the Outlawing Corporate Cash Undermining the Public Interest in our Elections and Democracy (OCCUPIED) constitutional amendment, which would effectively ban corporate money in the campaign finance system. “I introduced the OCCUPIED Amendment because …of…corporate control of our democracy. It is time to return the nation’s capital and our democracy to the people,” said Deutch in a statement as he introduced his amendment. And earlier last month, Deutch tweeted about the need to “ban corporate $$ in elections“:

 

Yet this morning Deutch seemed to put aside his beliefs about the dangers of corporate control of our political system. He attended a fundraising breakfast thrown by Lyndon K. Boozer, the Assistant Vice President for Federal Relations at AT&T and a major telecom lobbyist. The invite for the breakfast notes that hosts paid $2,500 a piece and guests paid $1,000.

Republic Report confronted Deutch about his fundraiser with Boozer and AT&T. Deutch repeatedly dodged our questions about AT&T and simply walked away after telling us that Citizens United should be overturned:

JILANI: We want to thank you for introducing the amendment to get corporate money out of politics. But we do want to ask you about today’s fundraiser. From what we understand it’s being hosted by an AT&T lobbyist. We were wondering if that sort of conflicts with your message of getting corporate money out of politics.

DEUTCH: (inaudible) Listen, we’ve got to overturn Citizens United. We’ve got to make sure that democracy is fair again. The fact is, the Citizens United thing is the worst thing to happen, to, to politics, we’ve got to change it.

JILANI: What do you think AT&T is trying to get with the fundraiser?

(Deutch walks away)

Watch Deutch dodge our questions:

 

When the fundraiser ended, Deutch sent a staff out to get his car to avoid talking to Republic Report again. Meanwhile, Boozer exited the restaurant through a different entrance and darted to his car, also apparently to avoid questions.

AT&T has good reason to be raising money for Deutch. Last year, the telecom company proposed a merger with T-Mobile. Eventually, the federal government criticized this merger, saying that it was not in the public’s interest for this sort of consolidation in the market to occur, and the company dropped its merger plans.

But AT&T spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on campaign contributions to Congress while it was prepping the groundwork for the merger deal. In the summer of 2011, 76 House Democrats signed a letter to the Department of Justice and Federal Communications Commission praising the merger and taking AT&T’s side. 71 Democrats who signed the letter received financial support from AT&T in the 2010 election cycle. Deutch was one of those Democrats.

It is disheartening to see a Member of Congress who so eloquently challenged Big Money’s role in our politics succumb to being hosted by a lobbyist for a powerful telecommunications company like AT&T.

 

  • Street_Justice

    I agree with you that this is disheartening. I would also like to interject my personal view on the “blame” for this disappointment. The system is to blame, not the individual. The reason I would like to make this clarification is that although the behavior of Deutch is an obvious conflict of interest, this behavior is precisely required for a “player” to “win” at this “game”. We must change the rules to the game if we want the players to play differently.

  • Miltfarrow

    We no longer have a differential between the oligarchy of a 2 party system-and yes the sytem encourages unetghical behavior and rewards the criminal particpants-We need a replacement making it difficult or impossible for these theives to continue the destruction and destabilization of our country as well as the world-The Federal Reserve is a main culprit-If these idiots continue in this path they will ultimately foster a real open revolution in this country ( again) maybe we are over due anyway-The Military Brass (Pentegon) is another evil manufactured for the benefit of the continuing war profits ( endless war) PNAC– for thos who speak without knowledge go read their “Mein Kampf”

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