Last updated: January 24, 2012 - 9:25am
Telecom behemoth AT&T has begun shedding lobbyists in the wake of its failed merger with T-Mobile. AT&T ramped up its lobbying spending in 2011 as it tried to win regulatory approval for the $39 billion deal. That effort failed in December, when a series of setbacks forced AT&T to drop the merger and swallow a one-time, $4 billion severance payment to T-Mobile. A number of lobby firms earned big paydays working on AT&T’s behalf.
At least four lobby firms that lobbied on the merger have filed termination reports this month indicating they no longer work for the phone company, according to lobbying disclosure records.
- Holland & Knight earned $120,000 lobbying for AT&T during 2011, according to records, before the contract was canceled earlier this month. Former Rep. Jim Davis (D-VA) was among the lobbyists on the account.
- Capitol Hill Strategies took in $140,000 last year lobbying for AT&T, but the firm’s agreement with the company has ended, according to Senate records. Consequently, Chuck Brain, president of the firm and a former senior Clinton White House aide, is no longer lobbying for the company.
- Capitol City Group earned $180,00 in lobbying fees during 2011 from the company, but that contract was up last month.
- And JC Watts Companies’ contract with AT&T has been terminated after earning $200,000 in lobbying fees from the company last year. Steve Pruitt, a Democratic lobbyist and a former House Budget Committee staff director, was working on the account.
A fifth firm, Patton Boggs, also filed a termination report for its lobbying contract with AT&T this month. But the firm did not report any lobbying activity on behalf of the company over the past year, while its affiliate, the Breaux Lott Leadership Group, is still under contract with AT&T, earning $480,000 in lobbying fees from the company in 2011, according to records.
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