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from the Daily Mislead
June 10, 2004

As president, George W. Bush is charged with protecting consumers from being bilked. But yesterday, the president decided to side with four major campaign contributors against 50 million American consumers in a court case that could force serious increases in phone bills all over the country.

As the New York Times reports, the president sided with four large telecommunications companies in a federal court case about consumer protections. Instead of defending government regulations that prevent price gouging on phone bills, the White House and its Solicitor General, Ted Olson, opted to drop out of the case. The decision by the president "substantially reduces the chances that the Supreme Court will accept the appeal".[1] The decision could affect 50 million customers nationwide.

The president and the Solicitor General have a substantial interest in helping the four companies who benefit from their decision. The four companies have given the Bush-Cheney campaign more than $173,000 since 2000: Verizon has contributed more than $85,000[2] to the Bush campaign, BellSouth more than $44,000,[3] U.S. West/Qwest more than $34,000,[4] and SBC Communications more than $10,000.[5] Meanwhile, Olson was previously a partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher;[6] a law firm that represents telecommunications companies.[7]

Sources: 1. "In Pivotal Case, Bush Backs Off Rule That Eased Phone Line Fees", The New York Times, 6/10/04,
2. Opensecrets.org
3. Ibid
4. Ibid
5. Ibid,
6. U.S. Department of Justice
7. Gibson, Dunn, and Crutcher

Posted: June 13, 2004


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