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AT&T Gave Obama Inaugural $3 Million, Awaits Airwave Sale
AT&T Inc. (T) contributed $3.1 million to President Barack Obama’s inaugural committee, according to a Senate filing.
The largest U.S. telephone company reported a $3 million donation and $123,061 in communication services. Obama reversed his position for his 2009 inaugural and allowed the committee to take unlimited donations and contributions from corporations.
A spokeswoman for AT&T, Claudia Jones, had no comment. Under a 2007 law, registered lobbyists, companies and trade associations that hire advocates must disclose to Congress their political contributions. While the reports generally show political action committee donations, the AT&T report included both its PAC activity and two checks to the inaugural committee.
The company also reported giving to three presidential libraries: $500,000 to George W. Bush’s facility, $275,000 to the John F. Kennedy library, and $25,000 to that of Lyndon B. Johnson.
The inaugural donations come as the federal government prepares to auction airwaves sought by Dallas-based AT&T and other wireless providers to meet increased demand for smartphones.
At the same time, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski has pushed to set aside some of the spectrum for wifi services, a position backed by Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and Google Inc. (GOOG), whose employees were among the biggest sources of campaign contributions to Obama’s re-election.
Amounts of other donations from companies such as Microsoft and FedEx Corp. (FDX) haven’t been revealed. They are required to be reported to the Federal Election Commission later this year.
AT&T’s political action committee contributed $5,000 to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and its chairman, Randall Stephenson, contributed $30,800 to the Republican National Committee. The donations came after the FCC and the Obama Justice Department blocked a proposed merger between AT&T and T-Mobile Inc.
The company earlier donated $3.1 million to the Republican National Convention and $1.3 million to the Democrats.
To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan D. Salant in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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