Stearns to speak to domain-name industry

An influential Florida Republican will become the highest-ranking government official to address the domain-name industry in Miami Beach next week.

Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) will speak Monday at TRAFFIC, which bills itself as the largest meeting of people and firms in the business of Web addresses. The more than 500 attendees will include domain-name registration companies, advertising executives, media, investors and "parking companies" that purchase domain names for the purpose of reselling them. The conference is backed by the World Association of Domain Name Developers.

“I look forward to welcoming representatives of the Internet Domain industry to Florida and thanking them for recognizing our state’s position on the cutting edge of the Internet economy,” Stearns said in a statement.

Stearns is the ranking member on the House Communications Subcommittee and is reportedly eyeing the chairmanship of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee should the Republicans win the House this November. In order to do so, he will likely have to raise even more money than the $300,000 contribution he presented to House Minority Leader John Boehner at a fundraiser hosted by the National Cable and Telecommunications Association last month.

The cable and telecom industry has long been a significant source of fundraising for Stearns. Data from the campaign-finance website Open Secrets shows the sector has contributed almost $100,000 to his campaign committee and leadership PAC during this election cycle.

The domain-name industry also is stepping up its contributions led by Go Daddy Group, which owns the domain-name registrar Go Daddy. Records show Go Daddy has given $22,000 to House Communications Subcommittee chairman Rick Boucher (D-Va.), $18,800 to Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), $25,000 to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and $10,000 to Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.)  this cycle, while Stearns received $3,000.

Go Daddy also spent more than $700,000 on lobbying in 2009 and has recorded almost $400,000 in lobbying expenses to date. Almost half that money has gone to the lobbying firm Prime Policy Group, whose largest clients include the oil industry, Anheuser-Busch and Chrysler.