Washington lobbyist, Sprint chairman host Blackburn fundraiser

Burb from Politico Influence, a daily Politico feature on lobbying in Washington:

The lobbyist David Carmen and Elizabeth Carmen will host a fundraiser for Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), who’s running for Senate, at their home in the Palisades neighborhood of Washington on Tuesday evening, according to an invitation obtained by PI. The twist: One of the co-hosts is Marcelo Claure, the new executive chairman of Sprint and the chief operating officer of SoftBank, which owns most of Sprint.

— Sprint, of course, announced last week that it’s pursuing a merger with T-Mobile, and Blackburn is the chairwoman of the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on communications and technology, which oversees the wireless industry. Reps. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) wrote to House Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and Blackburn last week to urge them to hold hearings on the proposed merger.

— Andrea Bozek, a spokeswoman for Blackburn’s campaign, confirmed that she planned to attend the fundraiser. “Congressman Blackburn takes her responsibilities on the House Energy and Commerce Committee very seriously,” Bozek wrote in email to PI. “Her only priority as a member of Congress is serving Tennessee families and doing what is in their best interest.” David Carmen declined to comment, as a did a spokesman for SoftBank and Sprint. If you’re interested in going to the fundraiser, it’ll set you back $1,000 to attend as an individual, $5,000 if you pay through your PAC and $10,000 to attend as a host, according to the invitation.

Update/note: The Tennessee Democratic party seized upon the Politico report for a quick bit of Blackburn-bashing in an email to media. Excerpt:

 “As she has done for a decade and a half, Marsha Blackburn continues to walk down K Street with her campaign moneybag open for lobbyists to shovel in contributions,” Mark Brown, Tennessee Democratic Party spokesperson, said. “She has consistently fought for the interests of her campaign contributors and worked against the best interests of everyday Tennesseans.”
Of course, Blackburn has a well-documented history of work on behalf of Big Telecom. For her Congressional career, she has taken over $800,000 in campaign contributions from the industry, including $105,500 in the first quarter of 2018:
o    Kevin Rhatigan, Executive at Comcast, $500
o    Clifford Riccio, VP of NCTA, $2,000
o    Samuel Lancaster, VP Gov’t Affairs at Comcast Corp. $1,000
o    Jack Keen, CEO of WNM Communications, $500
o    Robert Hale, CEO of Granite Telecommunications, $10,400 (page 179, request for reattribution submitted)
o    Robert Fisher, SVP of Verizon Federal Government Affairs, $1,000
o    James Dinnocenzo, VP Government Affairs of Comcast, $500
o    Kristine Dankenbrink, SVP Taxation at Comcast, $1,500
o    David Cohen, Executive Vice President at Comcast Corporation, $2,700
o    William Connors, President of Comcast NBC Universal, $2,500
o    Jot Carpenter, Telecomms Consultant at Carpenter Strategic Consulting (represents Telecomms industry), $1,000
o    Leroy Carlson, Chairman of US Cellular, $5,400
o    Wireless Infrastructure Association PAC, $2,000
o    United States Telecom Association PAC, $7,000
o    US Cellular, $9,000
o    T-Mobile PAC, $10,000
o    Thunderbolt PAC, $10,000
o    National Telecommunications Cooperative Association PAC, $2,500
o    CTIA-The Wireless Association PAC, $10,000
o    Centurylink Inc. Emplyoees PAC, $7,500
o    Cisco Systems, Inc Federal PAC, $5,000
o    AT&T Inc. Federal PAC, $10,000 (page 628)
o    Competitive Carriers Association PAC, $3,500
In return, she passed legislation allowing internet service providers to collect and sell consumer data and supported the overturning of the Federal Communication Commission’s Net Neutrality rules, among other actions.


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