There’s little that tends to unite a leading liberal like Dick Durbin and a conservative firebrand like Ted Cruz.
But when the two senators join their colleagues for a hearing this month 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 Philadelphia 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-Minn.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah), 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-Ore.) and Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.).
Comcast stresses its donations are a function of its business. “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.”