Did The Cable Industry Pay Ralph Reed Millions Of Dollars To Orchestrate Tea Party Opposition To Net Neutrality?
By Lee Fang on Jun 2, 2011 at 2:30 pm
As the New York Times and ThinkProgress have reported, Ralph Reed has returned as a force in the political world. A decade ago, Reed was a kingmaker in Republican politics and a corporate lobbyist who counted Fortune 100 companies like Enron and Microsoft as clients. His fall from grace, starting with the Jack Abramoff scandal and culminating in a humiliating loss in his run for lieutenant governor of Georgia, is apparently now behind him. Times reporter Erik Eckholm points out that Reed has successfully revived his work as an operator within the Republican Party, most notably with his ability to ensnare nearly every Republican presidential contender to a conference he’s hosting this weekend.
However, little is known about Reed’s work reviving his business as an astroturf lobbyist. According to documents obtained by ThinkProgress, the National Cable and Telecom Association (NCTA), a trade association that represents cable providers like Comcast and Qwest Communications, has provided Reed’s lobbying firm with at least $3,462,117 worth of contracts in the last three years alone. Century Strategies, the firm founded by Reed and fellow astroturf lobbyist Tim Phillips in 1997, received the contracts for what NCTA deemed “legal and advertising” services. View a screenshot of the relevant documents here and here.
ThinkProgress has queried several staffers at Reed’s lobbying firm to learn about the contract. At CPAC this year, one employee for Reed told us that he did not work on the NCTA account and knew little about it. I spoke to another staffer in Reed’s Atlanta office this week and asked if the firm ever provides any kind of legal or advertising work for clients. “None at all,” she replied to the legal question. “Nope, we don’t,” she said in response to a question I had about Century Strategies creating or purchasing advertisements for clients. Why did the cable industry pay Reed millions for advertising work, then?