back to article How politics works, part 97: Telecoms industry throws a fundraiser for US senator night before he oversees, er, a telecoms privacy hearing

The chairman of a US Senate committee mulling privacy protections will be thrown a reelection fundraiser by, er, the privacy-trampling telecoms industry literally the day before a key hearing. Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) heads up the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, which will next Wednesday hold a hearing …

  1. Mark 85 Silver badge

    The more things change, the less they really do.

    Welcome to American politics. We still have the best politicians money can buy. <sigh>

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: The more things change, the less they really do.

      >We still have the best politicians money can buy.

      Then you really need to stop shopping in Walmart

      1. croc

        Re: The more things change, the less they really do.

        When Walmart is the only store in town it is hard not to.

      2. FrozenShamrock

        Re: The more things change, the less they really do.

        The problem is ordinary citizens can't afford to shop in this market at all.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The more things change, the less they really do.

      Now you know why people get in to politics...

      And how politicians get rich.

      Take Pelosi...

      Her hubby gets the opportunity to be an early investor in key technology companies.

      Something we little people can't.

      And when they leave... they get cushy jobs on Wall Street or as in house counsel where they work w lobbyists and connecting back to the government. I think Jim Comey between stints w FBI/DOJ made 5 million doing just that... Robert Mueller too.

      And there are many more politicians doing just this...

      1. Sloppy Crapmonster

        Re: The more things change, the less they really do.

        Oh stop. At our current level, Nancy Pelosi is pretty far down the list of trash to get rid of.

        1. Ian Michael Gumby

          @Sloppy Crap Re: The more things change, the less they really do.

          I think you missed AC's point.

          Pelosi is the richest woman in Congress.

          The allegation is that she got wealthy because her husband was a lucky investor in Silicon Valley Tech companies.

          The AC is hinting that he's been given an inside track to invest that isn't open to others.

          There should be term limits.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The more things change, the less they really do.

        And afterwards, just retire trotters up in the sun...

    3. Thought About IT

      Re: The more things change, the less they really do.

      Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez concisely explained political corruption to the House Oversight Committee, recorded for posterity in this 5-minute video. Rotten to the top!

    4. Wade Burchette Silver badge

      Re: The more things change, the less they really do.

      Hillary Clinton spent $1,200,000,000 to get elected; Donald Trump half that. Do you think people and businesses were giving them money because they liked them? I can't think of two more unlikable people than those two. The rot infects all politicians. People who give out those large donations are not doing it because they agree with the corrupt; they are doing it because they want favors in return.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The more things change, the less they really do.

        Donald Trump didn't spend anything, he got others to pay for it and apparently pocketed a hefty slice of it as well (which is now one of the many, many investigations ongoing). It's hard to change the habit of a lifetime, I guess.

        I fully agree that contenders should all be given a fixed budget - how they spend it is up to them, but that playing field really needs levelling.

  2. Robert 22

    Draining the swamp

    So much for draining the swamp. It seems they reserved this job for the Creature from the Black Lagoon, but he wasn't available.

    1. HereIAmJH

      Re: Draining the swamp

      Not draining the swamp. They have just reversed the flow. Now instead of serving in gov't to get a cushy position as a lobbyist, they work as a lobbyist until they can get appointed to an oversight position where they can rewrite regulations to suit their industry. Overall I suspect it pays better and you don't have to pretend to care about the proles.

      1. J.Smith

        Re: Draining the swamp

        Whatever direction, it's still the revolving door of corruption, same as ever.

    2. fishman

      Re: Draining the swamp

      They didn't drain the swamp, they blocked the drains.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: Draining the swamp

        when you drain something all the shit needs to go somewhere else. The other swamp was drained 'cause the current guys didnt get anything out of it.

        1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

          Re: Draining the swamp

          Draining the swamp actually worked, we can thank Trump for that - he's exposed all the evil creatures that have lived out of site in the mud for years. Now we can see them running the government, prior to Trump it was never this obvious.

  3. ma1010

    Pretty much business as usual, but...

    There are exceptions on occasion. A famous (now deceased) California legislator once said (this is from memory so possibly not exact) "You have to be able to eat their food, drink their booze, sleep with their women, then go in the next day and vote against their bill."

    1. Paul

      Re: Pretty much business as usual, but...

      that's the fundamental problem. to get the funding to be elected, you have to make so many promises that any kind of ethics take second place to fulfilling those promises.

  4. ThatOne Silver badge

    > the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Center for Digital Democracy (CDD) have both gone public with their frustration that [...] they nor any other supporter of data privacy laws has been invited to give testimony.

    It's their own fault, why don't they shell out $5000 like everyone else?...

    Apparently in DC you don't give testimony, you buy opinions.

    1. Robert 22

      Gold's Law

      Those who have the gold make the law.

  5. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

    AT&T's political action committee and telco trade group USTelecom will host a fundraiser for Wicker literally the night before that hearing at the Capital Grille restaurant

    Is the phrase "host a fundraiser" (still) synonymous (or euphemism) to "hookers and blow"?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "hookers and blow"

      "Is the phrase "host a fundraiser" (still) synonymous (or euphemism) to "hookers and blow"?"

      Of course not, politicians tastes behave become far more exotic....

      1. stiine Silver badge

        Re: "hookers and blow"

        Perhaps the Sackler family will host a weekend-away fundraiser...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Here's a great example of private money at work in politics and why it should not be allowed. A friend of mine harps on me about posting so many articles about American politics but I contend that many of the ideas/principles are the same. There should be no private money in politics and lobbying should be heavily regulated and documented.

  7. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    Privacy-trampling telecoms?

    It's more likely the online service providers trample our privacy than telecoms. The Googles and Facebooks are selling our data more so than the telecoms, the people running the 'Net. Of course, given the profitable partnerships that the likes of Comcast, AT&T and Verizon like to snuggle up with, it's difficult to tell exactly where one begins and the other ends. And who's knuckles need to get rapped. Draw a distinct line between telecommunications service providers and data service providers. And then go after the real guilty parties. And if the telecoms are still enamored with their paramours, they can still get together on conjugal visit days.

    1. LateAgain

      Re: Privacy-trampling telecoms?

      If "the likes of Comcast, AT&T and Verizon " don't want to be liable for everything on the Internet then why the *** are they so against net neutrality and being classed as common carriers?

      The Lawers need to make up their f****** minds about which business the companies are in.

      1. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

        Re: Privacy-trampling telecoms?

        "then why the *** are they so against net neutrality"

        Because they stand to make a lot of money off of the information service providers for doing nothing. Telecoms can take a cut of the action from the highly profitable ones and keep the issue of selling your data at arms length.

  8. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    Nothing to see here, move along...

  9. DarkLordofSurrey

    I'm guessing these "donations" are also list as a tax write off for the companies..

  10. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge

    Something dodgy about that witness list...

    Brian Dodge: COO of the Retail Industry Leaders Association, which has persistently argued that self-regulation is the best solution to data privacy.

    Brian Dodge: CEO of the BSA, aka The Software Alliance, which was established and largely steered by Microsoft.

    Is it the same Brian Dodge or two different Brian Dodges?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I was in Brussels last week.

    .. and the EU corridors are thick with lobbyists of various companies, such as that one outfit that accidentally forgot to mention it stuck a microphone in its gear (until it had to). If I recall correctly, that's the same outfit that accidentally stuck a WiFi scanner in its mapping cars, and by sheer coincidence happened to have a facility ready to receive the data from that accident as it started to roll in from everywhere. It's just astonishing how these coincidences and accidents keep happening. No, no, nothing deliberate, gawd, no.

    I'm sure this outfit will accidentally host some parties here too. A fortuitous mistake will ensure that key decision makers will receive an invite before anything critical will have to be voted on.

    It would be a shame, of course, if journalists just accidentally happened to be around, though..

    1. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: I was in Brussels last week.

      So the EU is just the same....does that make what's going on the US right?

  12. Claverhouse Silver badge

    The Alliance of Bucket Shops, along with the Business Protection Association and the Society of Panderers also firmly believed only Self Regulation could deliver the best results.

  13. DrM


    Always amazes me how we are sold out for tiny specks of money like $200K. Could we offer him a $1M per year bonus if he is honest for the whole year? It would be a bargain.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sad

      It's $200k for one night.

      Over the course of a year there are ten's of these events to raise around $8.5m over the 2013-2015 period:

      So $1m/year for honesty or ~$1.7m/year for the status quo.

  14. FrozenShamrock

    The real damage

    The real damage of the continuous corruption like this goes way beyond this one issue of privacy protection. It undermines faith in the democratic political system altogether. It plays into the hands of would be strong men who promise to clean things up and provide an efficient government. You don't have to look to the sad history of the last century. Look to some now dubious democracies such as the Philippines, Hungary, Poland, Turkey, If the people lose confidence in and respect for democracy we are lost.

  15. martinusher Silver badge

    We have the best Democracy money can buy

    There is a lesson here for the EU since its still not fully formed.

    The Federal government started out with a relatively limited scope -- provide for the common defense, manage uniform standards of trade between states and so on. A bit like the European Community, in fact -- the early United States was more like a customs union than a federation. These days its morphed into a monster that doesn't really do that much for us any more except absorb the lion's share of taxation, create fiat currency, run an enormous military machine and generate laws that the States are supposed to enforce. (Sounds familiar?)

    We do have checks and balances but it remains to be seen if they're up to the task. My guess is that its marginal these days because people are getting so blatant. (One thing that works against us is that in the bad old days we had strict media ownership rules that preserved a significant measure of independence among the media; this has been rationalized out so we now have media empires that act as corporate propaganda outlets. There's a bit of pushback against this -- people have noticed that stories are not only consistent over a broad range of outlets but don't seem to match the facts but the response has been patchy, prone to manipulation and now is likely to be censored if the platform is a social media outlet.)

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