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AT&T Throws ‘Exclusive Party’ For Blue Dog Democrats Who Helped Pass Retroactive Immunity

The telecommunications giant AT&T; is “virtually everywhere” at the Democratic convention this week, “wining and feeding delegates and members of Congress with a relentless schedule of luncheons and evening celebrations.” The Texas-based company threw a special party outside the Mile High Station for its biggest supporters:

On Monday, AT&T; threw an exclusive party for the Blue Dogs, the House’s moderate and conservative Democrats, at the historic Mile High Station in downtown Denver. Among the guests was House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., who in June led Blue Dogs in crafting a compromise bill that shielded telecommunications companies from lawsuits arising from the government’s terrorism-era warrantless eavesdropping.

Hoyer spokeswoman Stacey Bernards said Hoyer was not aware of any connection between the party and his work on the legislation.

“I’m sure Mr. Hoyer didn’t even know who the sponsor was,” she said.

Leading the Blue Dog Democrats, Hoyer was “the point man” in negotiations over the new FISA law that Congress passed and Bush signed last month. He helped secure retroactive immunity for the telecommunications companies (including AT&T;), thereby condoning their participation in Bush’s illegal spying program.

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The president paid “special tribute” to Hoyer for his work in passing the legislation. While Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) called the legislation “one of the greatest assaults on the Constitution…in the history of our country,” Hoyer heralded it as a “significant victory.” And he has earned the telecommunication companies’ special thanks this week at the DNC convention.

AT&T; is also a major donor to the Republican convention next week, where it will also host a series of events.

Update:

“I don’t know that Senator McCain would be a bad president,” Mr. Hoyer told The Washington Times. “But if he pursued, as he says he’s going to, the same policies that President Bush has pursued, he would have a bad administration, a bad result.”

Update:

,Glenn Greenwald attended the event at Mile High Station, but wasn’t allowed in. Read his account of what took place.

Update:

,Matt Stoller flagged this notice on Sunday: