Comcast spreads cash wide on Capitol Hill

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There’s little that tends to unite a leading liberal like Sen Dick Durbin (D-IL) and a conservative firebrand like Ted Cruz (R-TX). But when the two senators join their colleagues for a hearing on Comcast’s $45 billion bid for Time Warner Cable, many of them will have something in common -- they’ve each collected Comcast cash.

The cable giant historically has been a major Beltway player, and it’s sure to strengthen its political offense in order to sell the new, controversial megadeal. Yet even before announcing its plans for Time Warner Cable, Comcast had donated to almost every member of Congress who has a hand in regulating it. In fact, money from Comcast’s political action committee has flowed to all but three members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Checks have landed in the campaign coffers of Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Mike Lee (R-UT), who oversee the chamber’s antitrust panel. Meanwhile, the cable giant has donated in some way to 32 of the 39 members of the House Judiciary Committee, which is planning a hearing of its own. And Comcast has canvassed the two congressional panels that chiefly regulate cable, broadband and other telecom issues, donating to practically every lawmaker there -- including Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) and Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV). Comcast stresses its donations are a function of its business. “Comcast is a very sophisticated political player.

They know that the money they give to both Republicans and Democrats buys them access -- everybody admits that in Washington today,” said Ellen Miller, executive director of the Sunlight Foundation. “So they have covered their bases by giving to nearly every single member of the committees that do oversight.”

Comcast spreads cash wide on Capitol Hill