Comcast Mega-Corp Shoveling Money At FCC Subcommittee

from the making-it-rain dept

For a long time, people have argued over whether or not corporate lobbying was legalized bribery or protected speech. It's a fascinating argument to me, personally, mostly because I don't understand why we're arguing over such a silly question. Let's just pretend I came up with some kind of awesome prose that dutifully began with a reference to the fact that NSA supporters in our government were paid off by defense contractors, deftly moved on to mention that roughly half of our proud public servants in Congress jump ship for lobbying gigs, and finish it all off with me just shouting the name Chris Dodd at you, and we can all get back to the business of not doing anything to stop this obvious bribery. Or, rather, we can get back to it in a moment, right after I tell you all about how Comcast gives the subcommittee controlling the FCC roughly all of the money.

Comcast has been among the top corporate donors to members of Congress, and following the money shows that they have been focusing their giving on members of the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, which has jurisdiction over the Federal Communications Commission.

-House members of the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology received $853,525 from Comcast from January 1, 2001 - December 31, 2012.
-Contributions from Comcast to House members serving in the 109th, 110th, 111th and 112th Congresses total $6,678,446 from January 1, 2001 - December 31, 2012.
-Representative Greg Walden, R-Ore., Chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology has received $53,000 from Comcast from January 1, 2001 - December 31, 2012.
-Representative John Dingell, D-Mich., has received $100,775 from Comcast from January 1, 2001 - December 31, 2012 more than any other member of the House of Representatives. He is a member of the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology.
These numbers may not seem staggering, but you're thinking about them in terms of corporate levels, not government bribery. In the game of bribing the folks directly involved in overseeing the overseeing body that Comcast has to worry about with their Time Warner merger, they're amongst the top contributors. That's all that matters, not the totals. Anyone else see a problem with this?

Now, what everyone is really waiting for is to see if the Justice Department is going to get involved and scream "antitrust." However, please, please keep in mind that this subcommittee we're talking about was elected to represent the people of their districts and the nation as a whole. And Comcast is outbidding you. And tons of companies are outbidding you. It's difficult to see how corporate lobbying doesn't create a massive conflict of interests, with this serving as a prime example.



Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Karl Bode (profile), Feb 20th, 2014 @ 3:00pm

    This is all before you realize that former FCC boss Michael Powell now runs the top cable lobbyist organization the NCTA. Or that former FCC ommissioner Meredith Attwell Baker is also now a Comcast lobbyist. Or that DOJ Antitrust Division director William J. Baer also represented NBCUniversal during Comcast’s acquisition. Or that top Comcast policy man David Cohen is a huge Obama fund raiser, and he and CEO Brian Roberts are golfing friends.

    Good luck, consumers!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Michael, Feb 20th, 2014 @ 3:00pm

    Proportional

    I would like to know more about the proportional total of 'support' various organizations from various categories have provided the politicians in this focus.

    As a citizen of the United States that exercises their right to vote in order to obtain the /privilege/ of 'complaining' about it I must admit that I don't even know where to begin (aside from a search engine) to look up this information.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    icon
    sorrykb (profile), Feb 20th, 2014 @ 3:09pm

    Re: Proportional

    This might be a start:
    http://www.opensecrets.org/

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2014 @ 3:43pm

    the only way this is going to become an 'anti-trust' issue is if everyone who is NOT comcast threw loadsamoney at the DoJ!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Zonker, Feb 20th, 2014 @ 3:43pm

    Re:

    FCC omissioner? What did they leave out?

    (apologies for the pedantic bad joke)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    icon
    Namel3ss (profile), Feb 20th, 2014 @ 3:56pm

    We need the zombie apocalypse to come and wipe out all this corruption.

    Too bad the rest of us would probably get wiped out as well.

    (been watching reruns of Walking Dead on Netflix lately)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Michael, Feb 20th, 2014 @ 4:29pm

    Re: Re: Proportional

    Further details:

    The House -> Energy and Commerce Committee -> Communications and Technology

    http://www.opensecrets.org/cmteprofiles/profiles.php?cycle=2014&cmteid=H07&cmte=HE NE&congno=113&chamber=H&indus=B09

    The table here appears to be (unhelpfully) sorted by Last Name. Sorting by Donation Quantity, state, or 'seniority' (loosely years in federal political service seems like a good guess).

    At a quick glance:

    Greg Walden (R-Ore) $42,250
    Mike Rogers (R-Mich) $22,600
    Doris O. Matsui (D-Calif) $20,500
    Anna Eshoo (D-Calif) $20,500
    Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash) $17,700
    Fred Upton (R-Mich) $17,750
    Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif) $17,750

    However most unhelpfully this list does not tell me whom they are on 'the take' from. If money is freedom of speech should I know who's 'speaking' with my representatives (and the magnitude with which they are being spoken at)?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    icon
    sorrykb (profile), Feb 20th, 2014 @ 5:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Proportional

    Yeah, I did have to jump around a bit in the Open Secrets site to find the details. Eventually I just skipped the menus and searched for Comcast, specifically:
    http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/summary.php?id=D000000461

    It's probably not entirely unreasonable to assume that just about all of them are "on the take" (at least in the sense that you mean), but that would be awfully cynical, and cynicism is one of the things the powers that be count on to maintain the status quo. Having the detailed information is helpful if we ever hope to do anything to fix this corruption of our democracy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    icon
    rycho (profile), Feb 20th, 2014 @ 5:57pm

    Re:

    I rewatched Fight Club and now wondering when Project Mayhem will appear to wipe the debt records and set us all free...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2014 @ 6:04pm

    Ever wonder why the Mafia disappeared,It didn't! It just regrouped.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    zip, Feb 20th, 2014 @ 6:28pm

    Re:

    The French in 1789 came up with a rather successful plan to "wipe out all this corruption" plaguing their country, a plan which they executed with ruthless efficiency.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 21st, 2014 @ 12:51am

    Re: Re:

    They left out that we was simultaneously on corporate welfare and a hater of 'welfare queens'.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Feb 21st, 2014 @ 2:57am

    Re:

    That's what lead to the 2008 subprime madness or the legislative chaos that criminalize anything and everything (remember, private prisons). You put the foxes to take care of the hens and you want things to be alright? The US is doomed if the corporations aren't taken out of power. How to do it is another problem that I personally don't know how to solve at this point.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Alto, Feb 21st, 2014 @ 10:02am

    Kinda makes me glad that Verizon hung that fiber optic cable in my back yard last summer.
    At least there will be some competition left

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Michael, Feb 21st, 2014 @ 10:18am

    Re:

    So THAT'S where the Tea Party came from!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 23rd, 2014 @ 7:27pm

    "difficult to see how corporate lobbying doesn't create a massive conflict of interests"

    Buy shares in Comcast.

    If the corporation DOESN'T deploy lobbyists as part of maximizing your share-holder value, then yes the corporation is conflicted about it's otherwise one-eyed mission: keeping investors well-heeled.

    Half your local electorate is on your side if you think it "unfair" (inequitable) that only investors currently have greenbacks enough to invest, whilst today's non-investors literally cannot afford to take such financial risks.

    Unfortunately for you, that half holds 1% of the wealth.

    Good luck fighting the good fight to redistribute an others' inheritance. Most wont agree that's fair. And essentially zero trust-fund babies will be convinced.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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