Comcast lures former FCC aides to lobby for NBC
May 26, 2010
This story was published jointly with
has been snapping up ex-government officials to help win approval of its proposed takeover of
, including former congressmen and congressional
ex-government antitrust lawyers
and former aides to the Federal Communication Commission’s most impassioned critics of media mergers.
In all, 78 former government employees registered as Comcast lobbyists
in the final quarter of 2009 and the first quarter of 2010, according to an
analysis by the Investigative Reporting Workshop. The most common
background among those identified in the Workshop investigation is
congressional staff, but there are also four former members of Congress:
Reps. Robert Walker (R-Pa.)
, who is referred to as “Congressman
Walker” on his firm’s website;
Chip Pickering (R-
Mis s .)
, and former
Sen. Don Nickles (R-Okla.)
Meanwhile, General Electric, which stands to make $6.5 billion from
selling its stake in NBC Universal, has hired former
Leader Richard Gephardt, D-Mo.
, along with 18 other ex-government
officials, to lobby for the deal, according to a review of records.
Walker and Gephardt list the transaction as a specific lobbying issue
while the other three ex-members of Congress give vague descriptions of
their activity that could include the merger.
The Comcast/NBC deal will require approval from the Department of
Justice’s Antitrust Division , which studies its effect on competition, as
well as the FCC, which must approve the transfer of GE’s broadcast
licenses and is concerned with the public interest.
In its army of
lobbyists, Comcast now employs former staff from both.
At the FCC, commissioner Michael Copps and former commissioner
Jonathan Adelstein have been the most visible and vocal opponents of
relaxing limits on media ownership.
Comcast has hired two of their former aides: Jordan Goldstein, who
worked for Copps; and Rudy Brioche, who worked for Adelstein.
Rick Chessen, another former aide to Copps, now