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As other diaries have already noted, Comcast will announce today its intent to acquire Time Warner Cable, a deal which would combine the two largest cable companies in the US.

That's an anti-trust case waiting to happen, unless the DOJ and FCC are derelict on their job.

You can't have gains from competition if there is no competition. And in an industry that tends toward monopoly and is part of the "commanding heights" of the economy that underlie the functioning of all other industries, nationalization seems logical. I won't get my hopes up about nationalization, but trust-busting seems necessary.

However, I want to highlight a passage buried toward the bottom of the CNN Money article to which I linked above:

Analysts also pointed out on Wednesday night that Comcast is remarkably well connected in Washington. In fact, its chief lobbyist, David Cohen, was a guest at the White House state dinner for the French president on Tuesday night.
David Cohen is the Executive Vice President of Comcast Corporation, in charge of communications, government affairs, public affairs, and corporate administration.

He is a major Democratic fundraiser in Pennsylvania and was Ed Rendell's Chief of Staff from 1992 to 1997, back when Rendell was mayor of Philadelphia. He remained a close confidant of Rendell's during his gubernatorial years as well.

Back in November, I wrote a diary about Cohen after seeing him mentioned as a host of a DSCC fundraiser with Obama, Bob Casey (D-PA), and Michael Bennet (D-CO).

Why did this pique my interest? Because David Cohen is a plutocrat who likes to play both sides.

Last February, he was hosting fundraisers for Pennsylvania's Tea Party Republican governor Tom Corbett.

A major Pennsylvania Democratic donor has announced that he will back Republican Gov. Tom Corbett's bid for reelection in 2014, according to multiple state news outlets.

As first reported by The Philadelphia Inquirer, Comcast Executive Vice President David Cohen hosted a January fundraiser for Corbett at his Philadelphia home that helped net the governor $200,000 for his reelection campaign.

"I expect to support Gov Corbett," Cohen told the Inquirer in an email message this week.

....

The Naked Philadelphian, a blog covering Pennsylvania politics, also reported on Cohen's decision to fund the incumbent governor's reelection. A source close to Comcast who attended the fundraiser told the blog, "Comcast is a business in the state of Pennsylvania. They need to be able to talk to both sides." Comcast is headquartered in Philadelphia.

This is not Cohen's first time reaching a hand across the aisle. He has donated to powerful Republicans in Washington, including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.); Rep. Fred Upton (Mich.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee; and Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah), ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee.

Nor is it Cohen's first time giving to Corbett, according to campaign finance data available through the National Institute of Money in State Politics. In his 2008 bid to be reelected state attorney general, Corbett received $1,500 from Cohen.

And then in June, he was hosting a fundraiser for PA's Tea Party Republican senator Pat Toomey.
Democratic powerbroker David L. Cohen has already crossed party lines to raise money for Republican Gov. Corbett.

Now, the executive vice-president of Comcast is holding a fundraising reception at his home for Pennsylvania Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey.

.....

“Pat Toomey is a smart and gutsy legislator, and exactly the kind of person we need in Washington,” David L. Cohen wrote in an email soliciting attendees and donors for the event. He said Toomey, elected in 2010, has made a “noticeable mark” in the Senate, and praised him for championing legislation that would have extended background checks to firearms purchases made at gun shows.

Comcast is also a powerful and reactionary force in Philadelphia politics. Recently, it was one of the biggest opponents of Philly's proposed paid sick leave legislation:
The biggest opponent of the bill is Philadelphia-based telecommunications giant Comcast. Almost all of the $108,429.25 Comcast spent on lobbying in 2011 was in opposition to paid sick days. It also is a major contributor to Mayor Nutter, contributing $7,500 to his campaign in 2011 and an additional $8,500 in 2012.

Comcast is also heavily involved with the American Legislative Exchange Council, or "ALEC," and has representatives on both the Communications and Information Technology Task Force and Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force. As the Center for Media and Democracy reported, ALEC has had opposition to paid sick days on its agenda since 2011 -- specifically, state bills that would preempt local paid sick day efforts -- and ALEC members have consistently been vocal opponents to the common-sense legislation in almost every city and state it has emerged.

What a great guest for Obama to invite to the White House State Dinner!

Originally posted to Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 04:43 AM PST.

Also republished by DKos Pennsylvania.

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