AT&T has mustered up a lot of support for it’s proposed merger with T-Mobile. Several special interest groups and liberal leaning non profit organizations have written letters of support for the AT&T/T-Mobile merger and sent them to the FCC and other government regulators.
Through AT&T’s philanthropic arm, The AT&T Foundation, over $60 million dollars was donated to non-profits and other causes in 2009 alone. The NAACP received over $1 million dollars in 2009 and it’s been reported by Politico, that they’ve received 6 figure donations from AT&T since 2009. Although the reporting isn’t complete, it’s most likely that did not change in 2010 or 2011.
More after the break
The NAACP was one of the first organizations to speak out in support of the AT&T/T-Mobile merger despite the fact that Politico argues they have no reason to be interested in big corporate communications mergers.
GLAAD, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation received $50,000 from AT&T. They recently wrote in support of the deal and said “the understanding that the merger will increase functionality and speed, thus growing engagement and improving the effectiveness of the online advocacy work that is advancing equality for all,”
The National Education Association, and the Columbia Urban League have also received sizable donations from AT&T and have both declared the support of the AT&T/T-Mobile merger.
Jim Cicconi who is AT&T’s top lobbyist is also the chairman of the AT&T Foundation. So in addition to raising support on Capital Hill, Cicconi also hands out the checks to the organizations which it turns out, support AT&T at times like this.
Some may argue that this is just the way things work in American business and government. Sites like Politico and groups like the Sunlight foundation work to make sure there is transparency when it comes to big corporate dealings like this.