DeLay and Verizon: Phoning It In

Telecom giant Verizon ponied up $5,000 to DeLay’s Legal Expense Trust during the summer and fall of 2001. Why? Good question — after all, DeLay “hasn’t been a major player in the telecom policymaking arena for nearly a decade,” as the National Journal noted last June.

Yet DeLay’s role as House leader gives him “the ability to advance or quash virtually any legislative proposal that crosses his desk, including telecom-related measures,” explaining why DeLay “continues to receive significant political donations from some of the communications industry’s biggest corporate names,” including Verizon.

And what was going on during the summer and fall of 2001, when Verizon dropped 5k on DeLay? A major debate in the House on legislation (called the Tauzin-Dingell bill) that freed Verizon and other big telecom firms from sharing both their telephone and broadband operations with competitors, a regulatory shift they’d been pushing “for years.” And surprise, surprise, in 2002, “after much lobbying, the House passed the Tauzin-Dingell broadband deregulation bill.”