The best politicians money can buy…

So I had been wondering why CEMC hasn’t rolled out their own broadband Internet.  They’ve got decades of experience with electricity.  They are a natural choice if Bellsouth and Charter aren’t going to provide Internet to everyone.  So I did some Googling…

January 2008:

“But there is reason to be optimistic about the possibilities.  Our legislators have obviously already seen the wisdom of allowing municipal electric systems to offer these services to their urban customers, so why wouldn’t it be appropriate for electric cooperatives to offer these same services to our rural members?” – Carl Wilson Jr., CEMC General Manager

June 2008:

“I guess we underestimated the opposition, which does not want any competition from electric cooperatives in their business.” – Carl Wilson Jr., CEMC General Manager

So what happened in those 6 months?  AT&T, Charter, and other big providers banded together and got our state government to pass the “Competitive Cable and Video Services Act”, which throws huge roadblocks into a municipality or electric utility providing internet service to their customers.

So were our elected state officials doing this because, deep in their heart, they thought it was good for the public?   Let’s see how much money AT&T and Comcast have donated to our legislators over the years….

YEAR     AT&T     COMCAST    TOTAL
---------------------------------------
2004   $11,700     $3,234     $14,934
2006    $1,500       $500      $2,000
2008  $139,782    $61,000    $200,782
2010   $56,450    $47,200    $103,650

So they go from donating a grand total of $2,000 in the 2006 election cycle, to $200,000 in the 2008 election cycle.

We have the best politicians money can buy.  Unfortunately, the average voter isn’t the one with the money.

References:

http://www.cemc.org/general/tnmag/January2008mag.pdf
http://www.cemc.org/general/tnmag/June%202008.pdf
http://www.followthemoney.org

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