The Dallas-based telecommunications giant AT&T bought more than 700 copies of Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s book, Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America From Washington, as part of a fundraising event arranged by the American Legislative Exchange Council in December 2010.
Perry recently urged the Federal Communications Commission to approve the proposed merger between T-Mobile and AT&T, saying it would “spur continued innovation.” The U.S. Justice Department announced Wednesday it would seek to block AT&T’s $39 billion takeover because it would “substantially lessen competition” in the U.S. wireless market.
The Texas governor and AT&T have had a close relationship. AT&T’s political action committee has given Perry more than $500,000 over the past decade, according to Texans for Public Justice.
In December 2010, the company co-sponsored a conservative policy summit, where it spent over $13,000 to buy more than 700 copies of Perry’s book as a gift to those attending the event.
Sales of the book benefit the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative think tank with close ties to Perry. The founder of the organization, Dr. James Leininger, has donated millions to Perry‘s gubernatorial campaigns. The organization’s president, Brooke Rollins, has also served as Perry’s Deputy General Counsel and later as his Policy Director.
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which arranged for the book sale, is a little-known but extremely influential conservative group that drafts industry-friendly state legislation.
“I can only tell you that we worked with ALEC to provide enough copies to give to the conference attendees,” Kerry Hibbs, an AT&T spokesman, said at the time.
In the book, the Texas governor blasted the expansion of the federal government and criticized programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. He attacked social welfare programs as “fraudulent systems designed to take in a lot of money at the front and pay out none in the end.”
Perry also called Social Security “a crumbling monument to the failure of the New Deal,” which was implemented “at the expense of respect for the Constitution.”
“This unsustainable fiscal insanity is the true legacy of Social Security and the New Deal,” he wrote.
The book is also critical of the the 17th Amendment, which established the election of senators by popular vote instead of by state legislatures, and the 16th Amendment, which allows the federal government to collect income taxes.
[H/T: National Journal]