The Process Of Maine Government…This Is How It Works!

“Time Warner made its case to legislators at luxury resort.”

“Time Warner, the state’s largest internet provider, has wined and dined legislators at the opening of this year’s session in hopes of thwarting legislation that would make it easier for cities and towns who want faster internet connections to become broadband providers themselves. The wining and dining was done at an overnight event at a luxury Cape Elizabeth resort and takes place in the context of Time Warner’s nationwide battle against such local efforts to get faster internet.

Just as the legislative session was starting in January, Time Warner went on the offensive. It invited Maine lawmakers to an overnight “Winter Policy Conference” at a Cape Elizabeth resort, where the company tried to persuade legislators that government owned-broadband was a bad idea. The guests were served steak dinners and some were put up for the night in rooms that retail from $205 to $355 per night.

While lawmakers say they attended the event to become informed, others are not sure that legislators attending such an “educational forum,” as Time Warner called it, is in the public interest. Especially one at a resort described by its owners as designed to “surround you with every creature comfort.”

And the Time Warner event is not the only one of its type. Legislators are often invited to parties, dinners and multi-day tours paid for by interest groups.

An email from Melinda Poore, Time Warner’s chief Maine lobbyist and the event’s organizer, sent to members of the legislative leadership panel prior to the event, said “we … have maxed out the attendance.”

What’s also not clear is whether or how many legislators brought partners or spouses to the event. Poore’s lobbying disclosure for Jan. 2013 shows that at a previous Time Warner policy conference in 2013, several lawmakers brought partners or spouses. Poore did not respond to a request for details about the recent event. Instead, Scott Pryzwansky, Time Warner Cable’s director of public relations for the eastern U.S., responded by email, declining to answer any specific questions.

Sen. Andre Cushing, a Republican senator from Hampden, for whom Time Warner also paid the cost of meals and the room, said he thought “about a dozen” legislators attended the Thursday night dinner.

Rep. Barry Hobbins, D-Saco, who also attended. Hobbins’ meals and lodging were covered by Time Warner.

Rep. Mark Dion, D-Portland, who attended the event, did not stay overnight but was provided dinner and breakfast by Time Warner. Rep. Dion said “30 or 35” attended Friday’s sessions.

Rep. Ellie Espling, R-New Gloucester, for whom Time Warner paid the cost of meals and the overnight stay.

Rep. Sarah Gideon, D-Freeport, who only attended Friday’s sessions.

Since 2008, Time Warner has donated more than $240,000 to Maine politicians: $127,360 to Democrats and Democratic PACs, and $113,250 to Republicans and Republican PACs.

Read more Here.

Source: Pine Tree Watchdog

Published in: on February 5, 2015 at 2:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

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