In the third quarter of 2011, with its proposed merger with AT&T facing opposition from the Justice Department and suspicion from the FCC, T-Mobile spent $1,070,910 in lobbying the federal government, according to recently released disclosure reports. This represents a 6.5 percent increase from the second quarter of 2011, and a whopping 43 percent increase from the same period in 2010.
Media Matters documented the multimillion-dollar lobbying blitz AT&T and T-Mobile initiated in April, after the proposed merger of the two companies was announced. In the second quarter of 2011, the two telecom giants spent nearly $6 million on lobbying and deployed a phalanx of former Congressmen and Congressional staffers to push for the merger.
Despite the crush of cash and influence, in late August the Justice Department sued to block the merger, citing anti-competitive concerns. The move sparked a backlash against the DOJ from conservatives and the right-wing media, and a countervailing burst of support from progressive advocacy groups.
T-Mobile, while not having the clout of AT&T, is still bringing significant resources to bear and spending lots of money to secure approval of the merger. In the first three quarters of 2011, T-Mobile spent $2,766,100 on lobbying -- well more than the $1,737,175 the company had spent at the same point in 2010.
AT&T's third-quarter lobbying expenditures have not yet been made public. Even when they are released, however, they will give an incomplete reckoning of how much AT&T has spent to gain support for the T-Mobile deal. A new report from the Center For Public Integrity detailed the "unusual" support AT&T is receiving from small charitable organizations that received substantial donations from AT&T.