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Nice Lobby

1:00 PM -- There's one industry in the U.S. economy that is certainly not in a recession: lobbying. In New York state alone, lobbyists had a golden year in 2007, taking in a record $172.1 million. There are a lot of people and companies to thank for that, but none more so than Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ).

Verizon spent $3.2 million on lobbyists in 2007 which is more than any other individual contributor. And that's in New York state alone. Where's all the money going? Probably a good amount of it is FiOS related. New York does not have a statewide video franchise, which has irked Verizon as it tries to get its new video service into New York City. (See NYC Still Waits for FiOS.)

Lobbyists of course aren't the only ones who take such contributions. Verizon also gave $152,620 to political candidates in New York. Elsewhere in the country, there have been much more high-profile examples of such donations -- perhaps none more so than West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller, who accepted about $40,000 from AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Verizon executives in 2007 after receiving nearly nothing in the previous six years. Rockefeller of course is the Democratic Senator who has gone against party lines to sponsor the wiretapping legislation that would grant retroactive immunity to the telcos. (See Wiretapping on Tap Next Week? and Were Telcos Justified in Warrantless Wiretaps?)

Is it just me or is Verizon making a lot of noise in government lately? (See Vonage Ordered to Pay $58M to Verizon, Verizon Sues Cox, Verizon Sues Charter Over VOIP Patents, Verizon Sues Time Warner Cable, and Verizon Asks FCC for FiOS Help.) — Raymond McConville, Reporter, Light Reading

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