Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.) was in the midst of an important constituent meeting Jan. 10 when he got the call from George Vradenburg, public policy chief for America Online Inc.

Vradenburg would contact many Congress members that day in the wake of the announcement of the megamerger between AOL and Time Warner Inc. But his call to Boucher was particularly urgent, since AOL had been the leading backer of Boucher’s bill to force cable operators to open their lines to Internet service providers.

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