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This Presidential Candidate Gets the Most Money from Telecom Lobbyists

Feb 25, 2016

Big cable companies are placing big bets on a Clinton presidency.

At $357,768, Hillary Clinton's campaign has received the most money of any of her competitors from telecommunications lobbyists, according to data from Opensecrets.org and highlighted this week by CutCableToday.com. In fact, Clinton takes in more money from Big Cable than all of the other presidential candidates combined. Her telecom money far outstrips that of any of her rivals. Sen. Ted Cruz, the candidate still in the race who's received the next-highest amount of funding, has collected a mere $48,241 from cable companies.

Behind him are Republicans Gov. John Kasich, who's taken $29,050, and Sen. Marco Rubio, who's received $26,329. Hillary's opponent in the Democratic primary, Sen. Bernie Sanders, has fetched just $19,681 from telecom companies to fund his campaign.

Telecom lobbyists handed more than $88 million in 2015 to advocate their positions on issues such as net neutrality, media consolidation and online piracy. In 2015, Comcast shelled out the most cash, $15.63 million, to advance its agenda. The broadcasting/cable giant also reportedly hosted a $2,700-a-plate fundraiser for Clinton in June 2015.

It's not clear if their tactics have been effective. Comcast's chief executive has golfed with President Barack Obama, and the company has raised $3.2 million for Democratic candidates since 2010. Yet during his presidency, the Federal Communications Commission has blocked Comcast's proposed $45 billion merger with Time Warner and also embraced new net neutrality rules.

However, there might reason for cable giants to hope, at least if Hillary plans to take any tips from her husband, former President Bill Clinton. Twenty years ago, he signed the 1996 Telecommunications Act, which took big steps to deregulate the industry.

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