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Obama pals around with Comcast’s chief lobbyist

Published Feb 14th, 2014 12:17PM EST
Comcast Obama connections

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Although it seems like the Comcast–Time Warner Cable merger would be a nonstarter for the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice, Comcast may have a few major tricks up its sleeve. It’s chief lobbyist, David Cohen, is apparently “great friends” with President Obama. According to The New York Times, Cohen is quite close with Obama. He has hosted multiple fundraisers for Obama, one in 2011 that raised $1.2 million and another last fall that also raised over a million dollars. And just this past Tuesday — two days before the Comcast–Time Warner Cable merger was announced — Cohen was hanging out at the White House for the state dinner for French President François Hollande.

Cohen isn’t the only close connection Comcast has with the Obama administration:

  • Meredith Attwell Baker, a lobbyist for Comcast, used to be an F.C.C. commissioner and voted in favor of Comcast’s purchase of NBCUniversal.
  • F.C.C. Chairman Tom Wheeler used to be the head of the cable industry’s largest lobbying group.
  • Director of the Antitrust Division at the DOJ William J. Baer represented NBCUniversal during Comcast’s acquisition.

Although the Justice Department has blocked large mergers before such as AT&T’s attempted acquisition of T-Mobile, and it appears skeptical about Sprint trying to buy T-Mobile, Comcast is no doubt comforted by these deep connections.