Following The Money: SOPA, Protect IP

December 1, 2011 -

If you want to know why your favorite senator or congressional representative is supporting Protect IP and SOPA, all you need to do is follow the money. First where is the money coming from? Big media, of course. The Sunlight Foundation does an excellent job of gathering all the info on this topic in one easy post.

The biggest benefactors of big media's money are California Democratic Reps. Howard Berman and Adam Schiff, though - as the group indicated earlier this month - the bill's (Lamar Smith, R-Texas) sponsor has had a lifetime of taking money from various groups repping the music, TV, and movie industry to the tune of almost $400,000 during his entire career as an elected representative.

First some numbers from the 25 Democrats and Republicans that co-sponsored SOPA (these are career totals, not recent donations, for the record):

• Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif., $1,727,156
• Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., $516,400
• Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., $488,731
• Rep. Mary Bono Mack, R-Calif., $488,636
• Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Tex., $392,995 (sponsor)
• Rep. Robert Goodlatte, R-VA, $316,686
• Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., $261,700
• Rep. Lee Terry, R-Nev., $248,168
• Rep. John Barrow, D-GA, $210,900
• Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., $204,199
• Rep. Elton Gallegly, R-Calif., $133,023
• Rep. Melvin Watt, D-N.C., $130,100
• Rep. John Carter, R-Tex., $75,850
• Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., $64,648
• Rep. Steve Scalise, R-LA, $54,000
• Rep. William Owens, D-N.Y., $42,850
• Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., $30,000
• Rep. Thomas Marino, R-Penn., $21,300

Meanwhile the nearly 40 co-sponsors of the Protect IP Act in the Senate have received more than $13.5 million from various lobbies and companies related to the entertainment industry:

• Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., $1,996,470
• Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., $1,465,160
• Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., $1,295,718
• Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., $899,366 (sponsor)
• Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., $890,668
• Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., $747,491
• Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mont., $503,291
• Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., $493,069
• Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, $492,407
• Sen. Robert Menéndez, D-N.J., $445,575
• Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., $430,500
• Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., $368,733
• Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., $365,589
• Sen. Robert Casey, D-Penn., $343,225
• Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., $312,320
• Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., $297,771
• Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, $291,621
• Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, $284,225
• Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., $254,162
• Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., $237,084
• Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., $230,569
• Sen. Benjamin Cardin, D-Md., $218,539
• Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., - $217,847
• Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., - $171,790
• Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., $158,066
• Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., $94,450

Finally, The Sunlight Foundation points out just some of the companies, groups and former lawmakers lobbying for these two bills:

- Comcast Corporation, which spent nearly $4 milion during the third quarter of this year lobbying against the PROTECT IP Act and other bills. Comcast lobbyist Joseph Trahern is a former aide to cosponsor Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and lobbyist Phil Tahtakran is a former legislative director to SOPA cosponsor Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.
- National Cable and Telecommunications Association spent $90,000 on lobbying for this bill and others. NCTA hired lobby firm Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock. Firm lobbyist Aleix Jarvis, who worked on the NCTA account, is a former legislative director for cosponsor Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
- Cox Enterprises Inc. spent $790,000 lobbying for this bill and others.
- Disney Worldwide Services, Inc. spent $600,000 lobbying for this bill and others during the third quarter.

Of course, lobbying lawmakers is a road with two directions and Amazon and Google have certainly been pushing back too:

- Amazon spent $450,000 on lobbying during the third quarter, some of which was pushing against this bill. Google Inc. also spent some of its $80,000 in third quarter lobbying on fighting this measure, as did Intel, which spent nearly $1 million lobbying in Q3. Sunlight Foundation says that lobbying began in October on SOPA, so it should show up on fourth quarter lobbying disclosure forms.

Source: The Sunlight Foundation


Re: Following The Money: SOPA, Protect IP

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you our U.S. government - bought and paid for by corporations!angry

At least when Yee's bill got up to SCOTUS, there was a reasonable chance that it would have been defeated.  With the kind of money the industry is throwing behind this bill, and Amazon, Google and Intel's efforts looking paltry by comparison, it's going to take a miracle to keep this thing from passing.

Re: Following The Money: SOPA, Protect IP

Unfortunatly the only alternative is to have taxpayer funded elections.

Getting elected is VERY expensive... so the only people who can run are either very rich, or take donations from groups like this.

Re: Following The Money: SOPA, Protect IP

No the alternative is for voters to actually educate themselves. The only reason it costs so much to run is because weak minded people are easily swayed by television ads. If people actually researched candidates based on their history, they could elect honest people.

Tax funded elections would only make it harder for 3rd party and independent candidates to compete as the bar for accessing those funds will be raised higher and higher by incumbent parties.

Re: Following The Money: SOPA, Protect IP

Tech industries have been all over this bill. The problem is that very few people in congress are listening. Take the recent committee review of it. THere were 5 representatives for the bill and 1 against it. They intentionally stacked the deck.

Re: Following The Money: SOPA, Protect IP

That most of those who are opposed are being shut-out of the discussion process makes me all the more fearful that this is going to go through with very little argument.  I'm writing my representatives here in MD.  Cardin may be on the payroll, but it doesn't look like Ruppersberger and Mikulski are.

Short of targeting the pro-SOPA lobbyists, I don't know what else can be done.

Re: Following The Money: SOPA, Protect IP

So, NBC supports SOPA & Protect IP, and Comcast is against it?

Can we say "Talking out both ends?"

Re: Following The Money: SOPA, Protect IP

AFAIK, Comcast owns the network infrastructure on which NBC broadcasts its channels. The two have different goals.

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Matthew WilsonI am old school on this. I believe its a conflict of interest to have public sector unions. that being said, I do not have a positive look on unions in general.07/07/2015 - 3:59pm
TechnogeekWhat's best for the employee tends to be good for the employer; other way around, not so much. So long as that's the case, there's going to be a far stronger incentive for management to behave in such a way that invites retalitation than for the union to.07/07/2015 - 3:10pm
TechnogeekTeachers' unions? State legislatures. UAW? Just look at GM's middle management.07/07/2015 - 3:05pm
TechnogeekIn many ways it seems that the worse a union tends to behave, the worse that the company's management has behaved in the past.07/07/2015 - 3:02pm
james_fudgeCharity starts at home ;)07/07/2015 - 2:49pm
james_fudgeSo mandatory charity? That sounds shitty to me07/07/2015 - 2:49pm
E. Zachary KnightGoth, if Union dues are automatically withdrawn, then there is no such thing as a non-union employee.07/07/2015 - 2:38pm
Goth_Skunka mutually agreed upon charity instead.07/07/2015 - 2:33pm
Goth_Skunkyou enjoy the benefits of working in a union environment. If working in a union is against your religious beliefs or just something you wholeheartedly object to, dues will still be deducted from your pay, but you can instruct that they be directed towards07/07/2015 - 2:33pm
Goth_SkunkBasically, if you are employed in a business where employees are represented by a union for the purposes of collective bargaining, whether or not you are a union member, you will have union dues deducted from your pay, since regardless of membership,07/07/2015 - 2:32pm
Goth_SkunkIt's something that has existed in Canada since 1946. You can read more on it here: - 2:27pm
Goth_SkunkSee, we have something similar in Canada, called a "Rand Employee." This is an employee who benefits from the collective bargaining efforts of a union, despite not wanting to be a part of it for whatever reason.07/07/2015 - 2:22pm
Matthew Wilson@info depends on the sector. for example, have you looked at how powerful unions are in the public sector? I will make the argument they have too much power in that sector.07/07/2015 - 12:39pm
InfophileIt's easy to worry about unions having too much power and causing harm. The odd thing is, why do people seem to worry about that more than the fact that business-owners can have too much power and do harm, particularly at a time when unions have no power?07/07/2015 - 12:31pm
Matthew Wilsonthe thing is unions earned their bad reputation in the US. the way unions oparate the better at your job you are, the likely you want to be in a union.07/07/2015 - 11:33am
InfophilePut that way, "right to work" seems to have BLEEP-all to do with gay rights. Thing is, union-negotiated contracts used to be one of the key ways to prevent employers from firing at will. Without union protection, nothing stops at-will firing.07/07/2015 - 11:06am
Infophilehas an incentive to pay dues if they're represented either way, so the union is starved for funds and dies, unless things are bad enough that people will pay dues anyway.07/07/2015 - 11:02am
InfophileFor those who don't know, "right to work" laws mean that it can't be a condition of an employment contract that you pay union dues. That is, the right to work without having to pay dues. Catch is, unions have to represent non-members as well, so no one...07/07/2015 - 11:01am
MechaCrashUnexpected? Seriously?07/07/2015 - 10:55am
Mattsworknamejob they wanted without the unions getting involved. The problem is, it has some unexpected side effects, like the ones Info mentioned07/07/2015 - 8:49am

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