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Did AT&T Lie to Your Representative?

Earlier this summer 76 House Democrats were misled by AT&T.

They signed on to a letter circulated by Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) that was so packed with AT&T talking points and spin that it’s worth wondering who really drafted the letter.

In it the 76 Democrats repeated AT&T’s argument that merging with T-Mobile is the only way that it can extend its mobile network to 97 percent of the population. They also signed on to the AT&T notion that this merger will "create thousands of jobs … which will greatly contribute to our continuing economic recovery."

But here’s the rub. Neither of these claims is true.

An AT&T lawyer recently leaked a document that revealed AT&T can accomplish its network buildout for one-tenth the cost of acquiring T-Mobile. And despite AT&T’s insistence that the deal will spur job growth, the merger will cost an estimated 20,000 Americans their jobs.

Being wrong on the facts has never stopped AT&T’s relentless drive to get Washington to bless this disastrous deal. AT&T is hitting other members of Congress with the same misinformation, and the same AT&T lobbyists who misled the “Butterfield 76” are trying to drum up additional support for the merger.


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AT&T’s believes that the truth doesn't matter in a Washington where fact checking takes a distant second to check writing.

The phone giant writes more of those checks in Washington than any other company. It has spent $200 million on lobbyists and campaign contributions over the years and gives more than $60 million a year to not-for-profit groups, many of which have lent their name to form letters supporting the merger.

(Not coincidentally, Rep. Butterfield received more than $32,000 in campaign contributions from AT&T.)

Today Free Press launched a national call-in campaign to convince the 76 House Democrats to remove their names from this letter. We’re also asking other members of Congress to stand up for the truth and oppose this merger.

AT&T and its allies are heralding everyone on Rep. Butterfield’s letter as a merger supporter. But if they're rightfully having second thoughts now that the facts have come to light, these members of Congress need to get their names off the letter.

It’s time AT&T paid a political price for its lies.

Tim Karr

As the Campaign Director for Free Press and, Karr oversees campaigns on public broadcasting and noncommercial media, fake news and propaganda, journalism in crisis, and the future of the Internet. Before joining Free Press, Tim served as executive director of and vice president of Globalvision New Media and the Globalvision News Network.


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