$4 Million Check From Dems to Nunez Looks Like Laundered AT&T Funds, Should Be Returned

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Assembly Speaker Carried Cable Deregulation Bill for AT&T As Company Raised Money For Party

Santa Monica, CA — Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez should immediately return a $4 million check he received on Election Day from the California Democratic Party, said a letter sent to Núñez by the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) today. Núñez was the guest of honor and sponsor of a lavish $1.7 million fundraiser for the party hosted by AT&T as the Speaker pushed to pass a cable and video deregulation bill on the company’s behalf.

"This $4 million gift comes with strings attached and the money will never be clean. Your acceptance of it demonstrates a disdain for voter-imposed campaign limits intended to limit the influence of large individual donors like AT&T on the legislature," wrote FTCR. "The check must be returned to the Party."

Read the letter:

The legislation carried by Núñez for AT&T and Verizon deregulated video and cable services to the detriment of consumers and cities, who will lose strong local protections when the bill becomes law in January. The Los Angeles Times reported that consumers are already experiencing poor service, including lost internet connections, canceled channels and rude customer service for Comcast subscribers in Southern California that were inherited by Time Warner.

The letter questioned: "Would consumers be facing either of these problems if your bill hadn’t released Time Warner from the obligation of negotiating with Los Angeles for a future franchise?"

"Every penny taken by the Speaker from AT&T looks like payback for shepherding the communications company’s cable deregulation scheme through the legislature," said Carmen Balber with FTCR. "Donations directed to the Party to be cleaned up and anonymized, then sent back for a politician’s personal use, can only be considered laundered funds."

The $4 million check from the Party would have been illegal if he had taken it the day after the election because Núñez cannot run for another legislative office.

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Consumer Watchdog
Consumer Watchdog
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