Huawei paid $2.5 million to Michael Esposito in six months. He was selling access to the President and top Republicans. Esposito claimed he
has “an open line of communication to the President of the United States” and is in “regular” contact with the president.
That’s the way things are done in DC. AT&T paid Donald Trump’s bagman Michael Cohen $600,000. It also hired VP Pence’s former chief of staff Bill Smith. Facebook just hired David Redl, who recently was head of NTIA in the Commerce Department. Plenty of Democrats are on the gravy chain, not least Joe Biden’s kids, who knew exactly what they were being paid for.
The likely pay for a senior government official willing to become a lobbyist is $1 million or more, according to Colin Crowell, who once was chief of staff on the House Communications Committee.
Huawei has also hired a large team of “communications” specialists, whose job will be to influence policy. Most U.S. government officials will not take a bribe. Those seeking favors instead buy their closest associates.
Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, and Google all have political pressure budgets over $100 million/year. Nearly no one at agencies like the FCC can be bribed, but they do respond to a “climate of opinion.”
The best advocates do not pay people to lie. Instead, “We help our friends,” as Verizon’s Eric Rabe once said to me. If 1 in 10 professors, think tank people, analysts or whoever agree with a telco position, that person is made prominent at events, publications, Congressional hearings, and more. They have nearly unlimited funds for research and “studies.”
FCC Chair Bill Kennard explains the power in DC. “I call them the black ninjas. They work by night and are very, very good.