8 members of Congress are leading the charge to repeal Net Neutrality. Here’s exactly how much money they have received from Comcast, Verizon, and other ISPs. 

June 9, 2017

Jack's headshot By: Jack Noland
Research Analyst, Represent.Us

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has begun the process of repealing "net neutrality" rules that require Internet service providers (ISPs) like Comcast and Verizon to treat all data on the Internet equally. Without the rules, ISPs will be able to block or slow down websites and apps.

So far, only eight members of Congress have publicly backed the FCC’s plan, by signing a statement of support or by having their statements included in an industry-written GOP talking points document. The FCC doesn't need formal approval from Congress to repeal the rules, but congressional support gives them the political cover they need to eliminate net neutrality without looking like they are doing something that only the telecoms want. (Note: the Chairman of the FCC, Ajit Pai, is a former Verizon lobbyist).

Not surprisingly, the members of Congress praising the FCC have received a lot of campaign money from telecoms that oppose net neutrality. 

Here’s a look at how much money these eight lawmakers have taken from companies and other organizations in the telecom (e.g. Comcast, NCTA) and telephone utilities (e.g. AT&T, Verizon) industries, which strongly support the repeal of net neutrality rules.

Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR)

Contributions from Telecom: $1,092,286

Contributions from Comcast: $122,650

Contributions from Verizon: $63,500

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)

Contributions from Telecom: $498,499

Contributions from Comcast: $49,500

Contributions from Verizon: $72,650

Sen. John Thune (R-SD)

Contributions from Telecom: $489,383

Contributions from Comcast: $36,200

Contributions from Verizon: $36,900

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS)

Contributions from Telecom: $406,650

Contributions from Comcast: $17,500

Contributions from Verizon: $10,500

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)

Contributions from Telecom: $383,251

Contributions from Comcast: $73,250

Contributions from Verizon: $48,035

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)

Contributions from Telecom: $440,530

Contributions from Comcast: $43,400

Contributions from Verizon: $36,000

Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA)

Contributions from Telecom: $146,000

Contributions from Comcast: $20,500

Contributions from Verizon: $10,000

Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH)

Contributions from Telecom: $368,250

Contributions from Comcast: $27,000

Contributions from Verizon: $28,000

The contributions to these members are significantly higher than those to average members of Congress. For context, in the 2016 campaign cycle, Walden ranked first in telecom money among all 435 House members, with Ryan receiving the fifth most, Latta receiving the 13th most, McMorris Rodgers receiving the 15th most, Blackburn receiving the 22nd most, and Graves receiving the 69th most. In the Senate, Thune received the most telecom money in 2016, and Wicker received the 41st most (out of 100 members).

Note: The figures above are derived from OpenSecrets data and include campaign contributions from political action committees and employees. The telecom industry totals include OpenSecrets' "telecom services" and "telephone utilities" industries, and cover the full congressional careers of the lawmakers. The Verizon and Comcast totals include campaign cycles 2002-2016.