Comcast Continues to Hire Former Congressional Staffers as Lobbyists

Still seeking approval for proposed Time Warner Cable merger
Comcast Executive Vice President David Cohen / AP

Comcast Executive Vice President David Cohen / AP

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Comcast is continuing to hire former congressional staffers as lobbyists in a bid to secure approval for its proposed $45 billion merger with Time Warner Cable (TWC), Politico reports.

Comcast most recently brought on Stuart Chapman, a former press secretary for retiring Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D., W.V.), to lobby for the merger and the reauthorization of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act (STELA). Rockefeller has received thousands in campaign donations from cable and broadcasting companies, including $55,500 from TWC since 1989, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Comcast previously hired staffers from the Senate Judiciary Committee, one of the committees overseeing the merger approval process, as well as top officials from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), one of the government agencies that would approve the merger.

The cable and Internet giant employs more than 100 lobbyists in total and is “swarming Capitol Hill” with them, according to Sen. Al Franken (D., Minn.), a vocal merger critic.

Comcast has also drawn scrutiny for its extensive ties to the Democratic Party. The company has donated more than $33 million to political campaigns since 1989, with about $18 million of that going to Democrats. Its CEO was a major Democratic donor and once golfed with the president, and its executive vice president was a top fundraiser for President Barack Obama.

The merger would unite the nation’s two largest cable and Internet service providers and potentially enable the combined companies to dominate the local political advertising market. It could also limit competition and raise prices for consumers, critics say.