Comcast Spent $5.7 Million on Lobbying in First Quarter

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The cable giant, which secured regulatory approval of its acquisition of a majority stake in NBCUniversal in late January, had spent $3.1 million in the same quarter a year earlier.

NEW YORK - Comcast spent $5.7 million in the first quarter to lobby the federal government to approve its $13.5 billion takeover of NBCUniversal.

The deal, which was announced in Dec. 2009, was approved by the Federal Communications Commission in January. In May, FCC commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker raised eyebrows when she announced that she was exiting the commission to become senior vp of goverment affairs at Comcast.

Comcast, led by chairman and CEO Brian Roberts, had spent $3.1 million in the first quarter of 2010 on lobbying, according to the Associated Press. In the fourth quarter of 2010, the company spent $4.2 million.

Among the issues Comcast lobbied the federal government on were legislation about set-top boxes, privacy and guidelines about whether an Internet service provider can favor certain data traffic over others. The FCC recently instituted "network neutrality" rules preventing favoritism.

In the January-March period, Comcast lobbied the House of Representatives and the Senate, according to the report filed with the House clerk's office.

Bob Okun, the former assistant secretary for legal affairs at the Education Department, and Phil Tahtakran, former counsel to Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), are among those registered to lobby for Comcast.