A year of political turmoil, capped by the violent insurrection at the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021, presented new challenges to many corporations, including AT&T. The telecommunications giant’s efforts to influence legislation and government administrators on topics from net neutrality to potential mergers had always been political, but expansion of the company’s political activism to encompass subjects outside of telecommunications in recent years had brought additional scrutiny from customers, legislators, and, increasingly, employees. Corporate statements in support of social justice based on race, gender, and sexuality had raised questions about the company’s political donations to candidates expressing policy preferences running counter to these values. The violent protests at the Capitol, which threatened the peaceful transition of power between presidential administrations, brought AT&T’s political activity under fire once again. AT&T had strong lobbying relationships with many members of Congress that had objected to the election results and had even made political action committee (PAC) contributions to 98 of their campaigns. As the vote tallies and political donations came to light the next day, the company needed a plan to navigate the tense situation.
Fictional protagonist Iyanna MacGregor, the top aide for AT&T’s executive vice president for external and legislative affairs, was responsible for drafting AT&T’s public statement and strategic political positions for the new Congress, set to take office in conjunction with the new presidential administration a few weeks after the insurrection events on January 6. It was essential for MacGregor’s strategy to address whether and to what extent AT&T would continue to interact with various governmental actors, particularly the members of Congress who had attempted to undermine the democratic process.