In the wake of President Obama's recent public endorsement of net neutrality, Gizmodo has released a report highlighting the campaign contributions received by politicians from the nation's four major telecom companies.
As per the report, both Democrats and Republicans received over $8 million from companies like Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Verizon, AT&T, and their trade group the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA) in this year's election alone.
What's particularly concerning is that money doled out by these companies directly reaches politicians like Ted Cruz, who is on the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet, which handles internet governance and FCC oversight.
The following table breaks down exactly how much telecoms gave to the election and reelection campaigns of the politicians tasked with overseeing the already industry-friendly FCC:
So, after Obama came out in support of net neutrality, asking the FCC to reclassify broadband as a public utility, Cruz's response comparing net neutrality to Obamacare shouldn't come as a surprise.
It's not that telecom money greased every pocket; the report notes that Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington, the one who introduced a bill to strengthen net neutrality rules back in 2011, didn't take any money.
Here is a breakdown of money given to members of House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology:
Aside from direct contributions, there are various other ways in which money exchanges hands. For example, companies can also donate money to a candidate's associated leadership Political Action Committee (PAC), whose money is used for the campaigns of political allies.
In addition, company employees can also contribute to campaigns. For example, Senator Mark Pryor, chairman of the senate subcommittee, received $30,750 from employees of Comcast in the 2013-2014 period.
As the report notes, "If it all seems confusing, yes, that is deliberate. If it all seems like a way to obfuscate exactly how much money is going where, yes, that is deliberate, too."