Politicians Received $8 Million From Cable Companies In 2014, Does Net Neutrality Stand A Chance?

President Barack Obama's first order of business this week was to post an open letter urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reclassify Internet service as a utility and implement strong rules in favor of net neutrality, such as disallowing the rental of premium fast lanes and banning the practice of throttling. But while it's nice to have the President in your corner on important issues like net neutrality, it's come to light that politicians on both sides of the aisle received a combined sum of more than $8 million in campaign contributions from big cable companies in the 2014 election.

That figure comes from Gizmodo, which deserves kudos for collecting all the campaign contributions to elected officials of the Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet and the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, the two arms that are supposed to hold the FCC accountable and ensure it does its job. The more than $8 million in political funds came from Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Verizon, AT&T, and their trade group the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA).

Net Neutrality

While this isn't a cut and dry case of buying politicians -- we're sure each and every one that received a contribution would deny being in the pockets of big cable companies -- there are scary discoveries when you follow the money trail. For example, the trade group forked over fairly consistent contributions of $10,000 to nearly every Republican member of the House subcommittee.

If you look close, there's one senator on the subcommittee who didn't take money from cable companies -- Maria Cantwell of Washington. She also happens to be the one who introduced a bill to strengthen net neutrality rules in 2011, proposing a ban on paid prioritization. Go ahead and draw your own conclusion on that one.

Like we said, it's not cut and dry -- Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts is also in favor of net neutrality, calling Obama's plan a "game changer," yet he received the biggest contributions from Comcast and the NCTA in 2014. It's not clear if there were other issues at stake that made him a politician of interest to Comcast, but whatever the reason for the contributions, it doesn't appear related to net neutrality.

Isn't politics fun?