Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL), the main Democratic co-sponsor of a controversial bill that would give control of the Internet to big phone companies, is in AT&T's pocket, critics are charging.
Over the past five years, the phone giant has given $1 million to a charity tied to Rush, funding the construction of the "Bobby L. Rush Center for Community Technology," the Chicago Sun-Times reports this morning.
"It is a clear conflict of interest for Rep. Rush to weigh in on this bill," Sheila Krumholz, acting executive director of the nonpartisan watchdog Center for Responsive Politics, told the paper. "People can disagree about where to draw the line on contributions and abstaining from votes, but $1 million is definitely over that line."
Both Rush and his wife, Carolyn, are board members of the Rebirth of Englewood CDC, which took AT&T's money, the Sun-Times says. Rush's son, Flynn, works for the center.
Oddly, the technology program has yet to get off the ground, the paper finds. But it is "now expected to open in the next 12 months."