At first sight, it’s hard to understand why the Shreveport-Bossier Rescue Mission, a homeless shelter and clinic in Louisiana, would lobby the Federal Communications Commission.
“It is important that we, as Christians, never stop working on behalf of the underserved and forgotten,” the Rev. R. Henry Martin, director of the clinic, wrote to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski in June. “It might seem like an out-of-place endorsement, but I am writing today in order to convey our support for the AT&T/T-Mobile merger.”
Martin went on to praise the potential expansion of wireless broadband service that AT&T Inc. has said the purchase of its smaller rival will enable. “People often call on God to help the outcasts and downtrodden that walk among us,” Martin wrote to the FCC. “Sometimes, however, it is our responsibility to take matters into our own hands. Please support this merger.”
Not included in Martin’s letter to the FCC was the fact that his organization had received a $50,000 donation from AT&T just five months earlier. Indeed the Shreveport-Bossier Mission is one of at least two-dozen charities that were recipients of AT&T’s largesse and have written in support of the T-Mobile buyout, which will cut the number of national wireless companies from four to three.
They include a Dollars-for-Scholars program outside New Orleans; an agency that helps special-needs adults find work in Michigan; and a Habitat for Humanity chapter in South Carolina.
Earlier this year, merger endorsements by the National ...