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.

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Companies: comcast

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Comments on “Comcast Mega-Corp Shoveling Money At FCC Subcommittee”

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Karl Bode (profile) says:

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!

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: 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.

Michael (profile) says:


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.

Michael (profile) says:

Re: Re: Proportional

Further details:

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

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)?

sorrykb (profile) says:

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:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

“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.

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