GOP Milks Net Neutrality Issue for Campaign $$


Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) big telecom bill has stalled on the matter of “net neutrality” — it’s just too controversial (and technical) to deal with at the height of a heated election season, Roll Call reports today.

But there may be another reason that the Senate’s GOP leadership is holding back on the bill, the paper tells us: it’s generating a ton of campaign donations to Republicans, especially helpful in tight races. Why decide an issue today, when you can make millions by putting it off?

As it happens, “net neutrality” is a dream issue for Senate fundraisers, as it pits two prodigiously deep-pocketed interests (the telecom giants on one side, the internet giants on the other) against each other. Wishing to influence the outcome, both sides are reportedly writing checks at a furious pace, fueling a “torrent of campaign cash” for the GOP:

Vulnerable lawmakers are loathe to cut off that spigot before they are in the clear.

“Another reason some don’t want it to happen is from the fundraising perspective,” a GOP Senate aide said. “Some in leadership are saying, ‘Let’s not vote until the election.’”

The piece names Sens. Rick Santorum (R-PA), Mike Dewine (R-OH) and Lincoln Chafee (R-RI), all of whom are in tight races, as senators wishing to avoid a controversial vote.

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