Public Knowledge Releases Details of AT&T Lobbying, Media Campaigns

AT&T has hired three former U.S. senators, four former members of the House and dozens of staff members of current and former legislators of both parties to push its $39 billion takeover of T-Mobile, according to a review of lobbying records by Public Knowledge.

In addition, PK also released information showing AT&T has spent $40 million in advertising to push the merger between May and October.  Of that total, about $14 million was spent in June alone.  The bulk of the spending was for TV ads, much of that concentrated in Washington and New York.

The roster of the AT&T All-Star Lobbying Team is here.

A spreadsheet of the advertising data is here

“This information gives us a more complete picture of the vast lobbying and advertising resources AT&T has dedicated to trying to ram through this takeover,” said Harold Feld, legal director of Public Knowledge.  “It is even more impressive that while many members of Congress have ignored the facts and are backing this takeover, the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission have not.  It is clear that the data the DoJ and FCC have compiled on this deal will negate all of the money AT&T has spent to mislead policymakers and the public.”

AT&T spent $12.4 million on lobbying for the first three quarters of this year, according to AT&T lobbying reports.  The former senators working for AT&T are John Breaux, Trent Lott and Don Nickles.  Breaux is a Democrat, the others are Republicans.  Of the former House members, the most prominent is ex-House Commerce Committee Chmn. Billy Tauzin, who retired as a Republican after starting his career as a Democrat.  The other former members are former Democrats Jim Davis, Ron Dellums and Vic Fazio.

The data shows that AT&T spent about $37 million for television ads.  The advertising data shows that AT&T spent $9 million on TV network ads,  $5 million on national cable ads, $4 million on ads in the Washington, D.C. market and $3 million in the New York City market.

This advertising information was derived from Competitrack.  While Competitrack makes every reasonable effort to ensure that reported ad attribution, classifications and occurrence data are as accurate as possible, several factors included in the capture and reporting of competitive advertising are beyond Competitrack’s control and the accuracy and completeness of that data provided cannot be guaranteed.

Public Knowledge is a Washington D.C.- based public interest group working to defend consumer rights in the emerging digital culture.  More information is available at

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