Accelerated Lobbying: Bipartisan House Appeal to Reject Title II

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Two new reports demonstrate the accelerating scale of Washington lobbying in connection with the Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger and with the Federal Communications Commission's network neutrality proceeding.

Comcast is currently registered with 40 firms, and it spent $5 million lobbying Congress during the first quarter of 2014, according to Senate reports as quoted in Politico, which calls Comcast's campaign "a K Street stimulus package." Among Comcast's recent lobbying recruits is Joseph Gibson, who once served as chief minority counsel for the House Judiciary Committee and also as chief of staff for Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), a former chairman of that committee.

For its part, Time Warner Cable has spent $33 million so far in 2014, according to official records.

Separately, Maplight, a Berkeley (CA) organization that compiles data about campaign contributions, has identified 28 House of Representatives members -- including Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Communications Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) -- who have urged the FCC not to adopt a Title II reclassification of the Internet and who also have received well-above-average campaign contributions from the cable industry.

The 28 House members (eight Republicans and 20 Democrats) who signed one of three recent letters to FCC chairman Tom Wheeler have received an average of $26,832 in contributions from the cable industry, says Maplight. That sum is 2.3 times more money than the average for all members of the House of Representatives, $11,651, according to Maplight's research.

Overall, Republicans signing the letters to the FCC have received, on average, $59,812 from the cable industry, five times more than average contributions to House members; Democrats signing the letters received an average of $13,640 from the cable industry, 1.2 times more than the average, according to the Maplight analysis.

Maplight tallies 29 members of Congress who own stock in Comcast, making Comcast the 25th most held stock among members of Congress. Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) owns more Comcast stock than any other member.

According to Maplight's tally of campaign contributions "from cable interests" since 2012, the top recipients who signed the recent letters to Chairman Wheeler are Reps Walden (who received $109,250), Cantor ($80,800), Boehner ($75,450), Upton ($65,000) and Barrow ($60,500).

Accelerated Lobbying: Bipartisan House Appeal to Reject Title II