A bevy of business groups led by the Illinois Chamber of Commerce are lobbying hard in Springfield this week in support of telecom deregulation measures being pushed by industry giant AT&T. The company no doubt appreciates the assist, especially after the Illinois Attorney General's office strongly criticized the industry proposals. But make no mistake -- the state's leading telecom companies shouldn't have much trouble getting heard in the state capitol.
Data compiled from the National Institute for Money in State Politics shows that the communications and electronics industry ranks as the eight largest campaign contributor in Illinois, donating over $1 million between Election Day 2008 and the end of 2009. During the 2008 cycle, the industry tossed in another $2.9 million. AT&T leads the pack, having spent $342,825 so far this cycle, $83,070 of which was distributed to the four legislative leaders. Comcast, meanwhile, has already donated $135,000 to the so-called "Four Tops" this cycle.
To learn more about this debate, check out our primer from yesterday.