Mywireless.org

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This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on front groups and corporate spin.

Mywireless.org describes itself as "a non-profit consumer advocacy organization giving wireless consumers a powerful and unified voice to protect the freedom, value, security and mobility they enjoy with wireless services." [1]

But the group "is staffed almost entirely by telecommunications industry executives, drawn mainly from the ranks of the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association (also known as CTIA-The Wireless Association), a lobbying group for the mobile phone and telecommunications industry headed by Steve Largent," reported Andy Birkey. [2] The mailing address for the group is the same as CTIA's.

The domain name for the group was registered, according to Joker.com, on October 24, 2002 by Nelson Lathrop,[3], who is the Director of Information Technology at CTIA-The Wireless Association.[4]

Links to conservative groups

Mywireless.org coalition members include "30 organizations that include 16 chambers of commerce along with sharply right-wing organizations such as the American Conservative Union, Center for Individual Freedom and Frontiers of Freedom." [2] (See "Coalition members," below.)

The group has also given grants to such conservative and Republican Party-affiliated groups as the Heritage Foundation, Hispanic Alliance for Progress Institute and FreedomWorks. [2]

Minnesota campaign

Mywireless.org campaigned against the Minnesota Wireless Telephone Consumer Protection Act, claiming it would increase cell phone charges. It ran ads "urging consumers to oppose the bill," and hired several people to lobby Minnesota state lawmakers, including Chris Tiedeman, Greg Johnson of Weber Johnson Public Affairs, and Brian Johnston of Washington D.C. [2]

Mywireless.org also mounted an email campaign, encouraging Minnesotans to contact their state legislatures and ask them to oppose the bill. The prepared email text reads, in part: "Placing additional regulation on wireless service will only drive up our monthly bills even more." State Senator John Marty, who received the Mywireless.org-generated emails responded, "It is no more expensive to make the terms of a [cell phone] contract transparent than to hide billing and pricing practices. ... The wireless companies lied to the public, convincing many to oppose a bill they would support if they saw the legislation." [2]

Funding

Mywireless.org's 2006 financial report to the Internal Revenue Service listed $6,914,804 in revenue and $10,432,373 in expenses for the year, meaning the group operated at an overall loss of $3,517,569. [5]

The group's single largest expense for 2006 -- at $7,149,284 -- was advertising. Nearly all of the group's income -- $6,491,524 -- was reported as coming from membership dues. [6]

Personnel

As reported by Minnesota Monitor: [2]

  • Steve Largent -- Board Chair; also president and CEO of CTIA
  • Jot Carpenter -- Director; also vice president of government affairs for CTIA
  • John Walls -- Secretary of the Board; also vice president of public affairs for CTIA
  • David Eisenberg -- Treasurer; previously worked for Sprint and Centel
  • Kimberly Kuo -- Executive Director; formerly vice president of communications for CTIA and a former executive at enfoTrust, a mobile services and telecom company based in Georgia
  • Bobby Franklin -- Director; also the executive vice president of CTIA and formerly a lobbyist for Alltel

Coalition members

From their website: [7]

Contact information

The mailing address for the group is the same as CTIA's
MyWireless.org
1400 16th Street, NW
Suite 600
Washington, D.C. 20036

Phone: 202.736.3889
Toll-free: 888-MYWLESS
Fax:202.736.3688

Email: info AT MyWireless.org
Website: http://www.mywireless.org

SourceWatch resources

External links

References

  1. "About us," Mywireless.org website, accessed April 2008.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Andy Birkey, "Phony 'grassroots' telecom industry group pushes back against cell phone reforms," Minnesota Monitor, April 11, 2008.
  3. Mywireless.org, Joker.com, accessed April 2008.
  4. "Nelson Lathrop", LinkedIn, accessed April 2008.
  5. "MyWireless.org," GuideStar profile, accessed April 2008.
  6. "MyWireless.org 2006 form 990 (pdf)," GuideStar profile, accessed April 2008.
  7. "MyWireless coalition," Mywireless.org website, accessed April 2008.

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