Thirty towns in Iowa are voting today to join thirty eight that already have municipal telecom utilities. They are hearing a lot of the same specious arguments there we heard in Lafayette–mostly scare tactics involving fear about risk and dark mutterings about conspiracy, ideology, and sneaky governments. But the similarity ends there. Iowan’s are drowning in a sea of telecom money with the most visible of it donated to an astroturf organization that is almost exclusively funded by the big cable company Mediacom.
From the Souix City paper, “Mediacom spends more than $1 million to defeat telecom issue“
More than $1.4 million has been spent on an advertising campaign designed to defeat city-owned telecommunications issues on the ballots in about 30 cities on Tuesday.
Most of the money, donated to the nonprofit Project Taxpayer Protection Campaign, has come from New York-based cable television company Mediacom Communications Corp., according to documents filed with the Iowa Ethics & Campaign Disclosure Board.
In addition to contributing $805,000 in cash to the campaign, Mediacom donated 16,366 commercials on 25 cable television networks. The 30-second spots were valued at $409,150, the documents said.
And the final campaign report is not in, I’m sure. Just wait, that total can only rise.
On the other side?
The campaigns to support the ballot issue has spent considerably less money. The Dubuque campaign raised $31,450 and spent about $21,000 on mailing brochures and advertising on radio and in newspapers.
Some smaller communities raised money locally and received contributions from McLeod’s group, but most spent only a few thousand dollars targeting mail campaigns or local media.
It sounds a whole lot more like the Tri-Cities of Illinois than Lafayette, Louisiana.