The Senate just passed the FISA bill, passed by the House last month that gives telecommunications companies immunity from prosecution for their involvement in government wiretapping of their customers without a warrant. Why the eagerness in Congress to hand over a big "get out of jail free" card to AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint? Our David Donnelly and Political Base's Mark Nickolas authored this op-ed for the Louisville Courier-Journal suggesting it's as simple as following the money.
Telecoms give millions upon millions to federal candidates and expect their phone calls will be taken, in a manner of speaking. One of the telecoms most vocal defenders in Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell (R), who certainly has his reasons for staying friendly with the industry:
Follow the money. An analysis of campaign finance data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics shows that employees and the political action committees of AT&T, Verizon and Sprint have given $219,485 in campaign contributions to McConnell and his Bluegrass Committee. In fact, AT&T's employees and PAC alone have given $178,000 in campaign contributions to McConnell.
They apparently got what they paid for. McConnell voted in February to keep the immunity provision in the Senate bill, and has consistently argued that these companies should be let off the hook.
In March, he said it would be wrong to "drag patriotic private companies into court for answering their government's call for help." The following month, he blasted opponents on the amnesty issue, saying, "It's time for us to get serious and protect the companies that protect us."
From whom does McConnell think these companies need protecting? Those that want them to obey the law in the Constitution?
It's true, us "law and order" types are brutal -- poor little corporations wouldn't stand a chance.