Finally, Congress is coming together over something. Unfortunately, it’s screwing the American public over that’s bringing the otherwise discoordinate body politic into union. It doesn’t hurt that Comcast has put millions of dollars behind a majority of politicians.
Comcast is currently trying to have an acquisition of Time Warner Cable approved in the U.S.. This merger is Comcast’s attempt at shoring up its stranglehold on internet service here in the States. The threat of the merger leaves little room for hope that such a merger would provide positive benefits for consumers.
In fact, according to Politico, all but three members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have received money from Comcast’s political action committee (PAC). Notably, Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and
Mike Lee (R-Utah), both members that oversee the Committee’s antitrust panel, have received checks from Comcast’s PAC.
During the 2011 and 2012 election cycles, Comcast spent $3.5 million on both Democrats and Republicans, but it has already spent $2 million in the 2014 cycle, Politico reports. This spending could be merely a coincidence but with such a large merger in the works, it’s hard to believe such speculation.
“Comcast reportedly has an army of over 100 lobbyists ready to swarm Capitol Hill and whose goal is to push this [the merger] through. Their top priority is Comcast’s bottom line — not whether this deal will be good for consumers,” Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) said to Politico in an email. “There’s also a pretty cozy relationship between Comcast and the regulators that will evaluate this deal, which I find troubling.”
It’s nothing new for Comcast to behave in this way. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, on the first night of the Olympics, Comcast threw a large party that was attended by about 700 guests. The guest list for the event included congressional aides and administration officials. The party-goers sipped chilled vodka and made s’mores over indoor fire pits while having their photos taken with former Olympic athletes.
Comcast claims that its efforts are purely in the interest of seeing its customers and employees protected.
“Comcast NBCUniversal operates in 39 states and has 130,000 employees across the country,” said spokeswoman Sena Fitzmaurice. “It is important for our customers, our employees and our shareholders that we participate in the political process. The majority of our PAC contributions are to the senators and members who represent our employees and customers.”
The writing is on the wall though, the major telecoms know how the system works; they helped build it. This latest burst of spending is little more than opening the door preemptively so that, later, they can waltz right in and clean house. When companies like Comcast can’t win on the strength of their product(s) or service(s), they resort to political games and favoritism.
And that’s exactly what this is.