Hardwiring Infuence-NYS Cable Common Cause
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Hardwiring Infuence-NYS Cable Common Cause

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Common Cause this morning released a new report entitled, “The Cable TV Industry: Hardwiring Influence.” The report brings together New York State lobbying and campaign finance data for the first ...

Common Cause this morning released a new report entitled, “The Cable TV Industry: Hardwiring Influence.” The report brings together New York State lobbying and campaign finance data for the first time to demonstrate how the cable television industry has used its financial resources to fight for industry self-interest at the expense of New York cable subscribers, who Common Cause deems to be the ultimate “Loser” in the report.

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Hardwiring Infuence-NYS Cable Common Cause Hardwiring Infuence-NYS Cable Common Cause Presentation Transcript

  • The Cable TV Industry: Hardwiring Influence November 2008 A “Connect the Dots” Report
  • Common Cause/New York
    • Common Cause/New York is the citizen's lobbyist and we speak up for clean elections and ethical standards for our elected officials. We stand up for responsive government. For years, we've provided a clear, strong voice for you and the citizens of New York. 
    • CC/NY is a leading force in the battle for honest and accountable government. In the past three decades, by fighting together we have enacted real change and will continue to do so in New York and nationally.
  • Today’s Presenter
    • Susan Lerner
      • Susan is the executive director of Common Cause New York.
      • Prior to her recent return to New York, Susan was the executive director of the California Clean Money Campaign. 
      • She served as a member of the Steering Committee of the Commonwealth Club's Voices of Reform Project and on the Board of Trustees of the California State Summer School for the Arts. 
      • She founded and chaired the Committee for Judicial Independence, a grassroots organization dedicated to educating and activating Americans to the importance of an independent federal judiciary, and lead a statewide coalition of groups active on federal judicial nominations.
      • For almost 20 years, Susan was a trial lawyer in Los Angeles specializing in complex commercial litigation and intellectual property.
      • She is a graduate of the University of Chicago and NYU School of Law.
    View slide
  • The Cable Industry: Hardwiring Influence , a “ Connect the Dots: Money in Politics” report
    • The Cable Industry: Hardwiring Influence , shines a light on one of the factors influencing the deregulation fervor in New York State’s cable markets, namely, campaign and lobbying dollars spent by the small number companies that dominant the industry in New York.
    A Note on Methodology : Campaign finance data provided in this report is cultivated from disclosures provided to the New York State Board dating back to 1999 and available at the website of the New York State Board of Elections. Lobbying expenditures are cultivated from the New York State Commission on Public Integrity and range from January 2005 through July 2008. All other sources are specifically noted. View slide
  • The Cable Industry: Hardwiring Influence , a “ Connect the Dots: Money in Politics” report
    • As New York City renegotiates its cable franchise contracts with Time Warner Cable and Cablevision and hundreds of municipalities around the state enter into renewal contracts with incumbent providers, or new franchise agreements with Verizon with the goal of adding competition to the cable marketplace…
    • New Yorkers would be right to question what effect the millions of dollars spent by the cable industry on campaign donations and hiring an army of lobbyists have on the cable service they receive.
  • The New York State Cable Market “The Big Three” Source: NYS Public Service Commission Cable Company New Franchises Awarded (Jan 2005 – July 2008) Franchise Renewals (Jan 2005 – July 2008) Adams CATV   1 Cablevision 3 50 Empire Video Services Corporation 19   Haefele TV   6 Hilltop Communications (Valstar)   1 Midtel Cable TV   7 Time Warner 1 255 Verizon 122   Grand Total 145 320
  • NYS Counties With Greatest Volume of Cable Franchise Agreements Source: NYS Public Service Commission County Franchise Renewals (Jan 2005 – July 2008) Nassau 49 Westchester 31 Rockland 18 Suffolk 12 Erie 8 County New Franchises Awarded (Jan 2005 – July 2008) Schoharie 21 Steuben 18 Chautauqua 15 Ostego 12 Saratoga 12
  • Top NYS Legislative Recipients, Overall ASSEMBLY CABLE PAC CABLEVISION TIME WARNER CABLE VERIZON Grand Total Friends of Richard L. Brodsky (D) $1,750 $7,600 $3,600 $12,950 Friends of Silver (D) $1,500 $1,000 $1,000 $6,500 $10,000 Friends of Tom DiNapoli (D) $300 $6,400 $800 $7,500 GRAND TOTAL $3,550 $15,000 $1,000 $10,900 $30,450 SENATE CABLE PAC CABLEVISION TIME WARNER CABLE VERIZON Grand Total Friends for the Election of Dean Skelos (R) $5,200 $32,750 $7,100 $20,800 $65,850 Friends of Nick Spano Committee (R) $8,100 $18,110 $4,500 $4,500 $35,210 Friends of Jim Wright (R) $2,500 $6,430 $13,350 $22,280 GRAND TOTAL $15,800 $57,290 $11,600 $38,650 $123,340
  • NYS Senate Corporations, Authorities and Commissions   CABLE PAC CABLEVISION TIME WARNER CABLE VERIZON Grand Total Citizens for Hannon (R) $500 $8,333 $4,500 $500 $13,833 Friends of John Flanagan (Chair, R) $650 $5,650 $4,500 $1,750 $12,550 Caesar Trunzo (R) $1,550 $2,800 $4,500   $8,850 Committee to Elect Maziarz State Senate (R) $1,300 $500 $1,000 $4,500 $7,300 Friends of Senator Gonzalez (D)   $300 $132 $656 $1,087 Grand Total $4,000 $17,583 $14,632 $7,406 $43,620
  • NYS Assembly Corporations, Authorities and Commissions   CABLE PAC CABLEVISION TIME WARNER CABLE VERIZON Grand Total Friends of Richard L. Brodsky (Chair, D) $1,750 $7,600   $3,600 $12,950 Friends of Carl E Heastie(D)   $2,325   $1,400 $3,725 People for Brodsky (D) $1,250     $600 $1,850 Friends of Vivian E. Cook (D)       $1,400 $1,400 Friends of Andrew Raia (R)   $1,250     $1,250 Friends of Jim Brennan (D)   $1,150     $1,150 Committee to Elect Bacalles to NYS Assembly (R)       $1,050 $1,050 Hevesi for Assembly (D)   $1,000     $1,000 People for Jeffries (D)   $250 $500   $750 Linda Rosenthal for Assembly (D)   $500     $500 Friends of Will Barclay (R) $250     $250 $500 Friends of Joan Millman (D)       $500 $500 Citizens for Ginny Fields (D)   $450     $450 Friends of Catherine Nolan (D)       $200 $200 Friends of Steve Hawley (R)       $16 $16 Grand Total $3,600 $14,525 $500 $9,016 $27,291
  • Candidates for Governor Recipient CABLE PAC CABLEVISION TIME WARNER CABLE VERIZON Grand Total Spitzer Paterson 2006 (D) $33,906 $64,500 $98,406 Friends of Pataki (R) $36,250 $19,500 $5,000 $10,000 $70,750 Paterson for Governor, Inc. (D) $40,300 $40,300 Friends of John Faso (R) $2,000 $9,300 $10,000 $21,300 Friends of McCall/Mehiel (D) $2,500 $5,000 $10,000 $17,500 GRAND TOTAL $74,656 $138,600 $5,000 $30,000 $248,256
  • Local Candidates * Senator-elect in Long Island 3 rd district. Office Recipient CABLEVISION TIME WARNER CABLE VERIZON Grand Total County Executive Friends of Steve Levy (D-Suffolk) $24,600 $24,600 County Executive Friends of Andy Spano (D-Westchester) $22,000 $22,000 County Executive Friends of Tom Souzzi(Nassau-D) $17,500 $17,500 Supervisor Citizens for Brian Foley (D-Brookhaven) * $3,700 $3,700 Mayor Friends of Bob Duffy (D-Rochester) $2,500 $2,500 Supervisor Kate Murray for Supervisor (R-Hempstead) $1,125 $1,125 Supervisor Friends of Joan Pagones (R-Fishkill) $999 $999 Supervisor Friends of Frank Petrone (D-Huntington) $900 $900 Supervisor Friends of Pat Vecchio (R-Smithtown) $875 $875 County Legislator Friends of Jon Cooper (D-Suffolk) $625 $625 County Legislator Lindsay for Legislature (D-Suffolk) $575 $575 County Legislator Friends of Wayne R. Horsley (D-Suffolk) $350 $350 County Legislator Friends of Rick Montano (D-Suffolk) $300 $300 County Legislator Friends of Steve Stern (D-Suffolk) $250 $250 Mayor Mayor Brown’s Leadership Council (D-Buffalo) $100 $100
  • Cablevision’s Concentrated Focus County New Franchises Awarded (Jan 2005 – July 2008) Franchise Renewals (Jan 2005 – July 2008) Westchester   10 Dutchess   7 Nassau   6 Rockland   4 Montgomery   4 Columbia 1 3 Suffolk   3 Orange   3 Essex   2 Putnam   2 Ulster 1 1 Albany   1 Greene   1 Steuben   1 Fulton   1 Sullivan 1 Grand Total 3 49
  • NYS Political Party Accounts CABLE PAC CABLEVISION TIME WARNER CABLE VERIZON Grand Total NYS Senate Republican Campaign Committee - Housekeeping $220,770 $550,000 $273,100 $1,043,870 NYS Democratic Committee (Housekeeping) $50,000 $335,000 $78,000 $463,000 NY Republican State Committee - Housekeeping $33,863 $35,000 $345,500 $414,363 Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee - Housekeeping $7,383 $75,000 $182,000 $264,383 NYS Senate Republican Campaign Committee $7,200 $134,150 $15,350 $156,700 Democratic Senate Campaign Committee - Housekeeping $10,500 $50,000 $46,324 $106,824 NYS Democratic Senate Campaign Committee $736 $57,000 $250 $1,000 $58,986 Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee $11,895 $34,300 $500 $5,000 $51,695 Working families Party $45,000 $237 $45,237 NYS Republican Committee – Reporting $1,000 $25,000 $26,000 Republican Assembly Campaign Committee Housekeeping Account $1,000 $21,300 $22,300 NYS Democratic Committee $1,000 $16,500 $17,500 Republican Assembly campaign Committee $6,975 $10,500 $17,475 GRAND TOTAL $388,347 $1,295,925 $25,750 $978,311 $2,688,333
  • Cable Industry Lobbying Expenditures * Over 85% of Cablevision’s lobbying expenditures were recorded between January and July of 2005. Even after removing this outlier, the cable industry still racked up $11.7 million in lobbying expenses since January 2005. Cable Industry Lobbying Expenditures January 2005 – July 2008 Cable Telecommunications Assoc of NY $2,096,004 Cablevision* $14,408,527 Time Warner Cable $429,984 Verizon $7,406,748 GRAND TOTAL $24,341,263
  • $$ THE PAYOFF $$
    • Defeated
    • The ‘Brodsky bill,’ which would have permitted statewide cable franchises and required strong consumer protections. The bill (A3980, The Telecommunications Reform Act of 2008) was the object of intense industry lobbying.
    • Awarded
    • The largest cable franchise contract in the country was awarded by New York City to Verizon in May 2008 and approved by the NYS PSC two months later. It is estimated to be worth $70 billion over 12 years.
    • Defeated
    • A proposed enforcement action that would have required Verizon to check all of its FiOS cable installations in NYS to ensure no electrical hazards existed. Despite calls from labor and consumer groups, the PSC Commissioners found such a move unnecessary and went so far as to water down Verizon’s own proposal.
  • $$ THE PAYOFF $$
    • Industry Insiders or Representatives of the Rest of New York?
    • The Public Service Commission has oversight over all cable franchise agreements in the state. Currently there is one vacancy on the PSC and the terms of 2 other commissioners are up in early 2009.
    • Who will Gov. Patterson appoint to the PSC? Will industry money influence his appointments?
  • $$ THE PAYOFF $$
    • The Ultimate Losers
    • New Yorkers who are paying as much as $130 or more each month for their cable service with little meaningful protection or recourse.
    • QUESTIONS?
    • Contact: Susan Lerner
    • o: (212) 691-6421
    • c: (917) 670-5670
    • www.CommonCause.org/NY
    • Thank you!