When Comcast and Time Warner Cable executives appeared before a Senate committee on Wednesday to defend their proposed merger, the senators questioning them weren't exactly strangers. That's because both corporations—especially Comcast—are already heavily wrapped up in the political world.
There's a reason a recent New Yorker article asked, "Does Comcast Own Washington?" The answer? Pretty much:
They give tons of money to politicians.
Here's just one statistic:
— Emily Steel (@emilysteel) April 9, 2014
The company has also targeted its donations to the Congressional committees and subcommittees with jurisdiction over mergers and the FCC. And it doesn't forget the senators on the Judiciary Committee, either. (That would be the committee that is set to question Comcast executives on Wednesday.)
They're buddies with the big hitters.
Comcast CEO Brian Roberts plays golf with Obama. Executive vice president David Cohen, who will be representing Comcast at the Senate hearing, was recently a guest at Obama's state dinner for French president Francois Hollande.
Their lobbyists know the terrain.
42 out of Time Warner's 49 lobbyists in 2013 used to work for the government.
One of Comcast's biggest lobbyists used to be a member of the FCC. She signed off on Comcast's takeover of NBC, and then joined the company.
They've done this before.
Comcast's acquisition of NBC Universal raised all the same red flags for consumer advocacy groups. Comcast spent millions of lobbying dollars and went through a lengthy process with regulators. You know the result.