Comcast Political Donations Rise Amid NBC Universal Deal Review

Report: House, Senate members who support merger have benefited

NEW YORK - Comcast Corp. has boosted its political donations by more than half since the cable giant starting seeking regulatory approval for its proposed acquisition of a 51% stake in NBC Universal, Bloomberg reported Tuesday.

From December's deal announcement through August, contributions from Comcast’s political action committees to federal candidates and political parties amounted to $1.1 million, up from $682,450 in the same period two years earlier, Bloomberg said, citing Federal Election Commission data.

Ninety-one of the 99 House members and three of the five senators who wrote to the FCC in support of the big media deal received donations from Comcast in the current election cycle, sometimes within days of the letters to the FCC, Bloomberg said.

"That's buying political favors," Mark Cooper, research director of the Consumer Federation of America, which has consistently opposed the merge, told Bloomberg, whose parent has also filed papers opposing the deal.

But a Comcast spokeswoman told Bloomberg that the "modest uptick" in contributions has been "primarily due to the increased number of House and Senate seats that are competitive this cycle."

Also, deal critics, such as satellite TV giants Dish Network and DirecTV, have also increased their political giving slightly, according to Bloomberg.

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