The lobbying blitz now put on by both these companies (Time-Warner and Comcast) to pressure government officials to accept the deal is intense. Let’s review a little history here first: Comcast purchased NBC Universal (for $30 billion in Jan 2011) and lobbyists were hired to make sure the merger went through. The payments it was said at the time “went beyond the traditional influence industry.” In fact, a past regulator of these kinds of mergers was, of course, hired to lobby to approve this one.
This revolving door was another thing that Barack Obama said he was
going to do away – remember.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/21stcenturygov/actions/revolving-door. The door is bigger and revolves faster than ever before.
The recently installed Head of the Department of Justice antitrust division William Baer was a lawyer representing GE and NBC in their push for the merger with Comcast. At the time he was an attorney with the firm Arnold and Porter (an international law firm based in Washington, D.C. Arnold & Porter is one of the largest law firms in the world today. ) His most recent financial disclosure report shows that he will receive payments from Arnold and Porter for the next 11 years as part of his retirement package. Payments he is going to get because he was so good at lobbying for this merger, he is now the head of the Department of Justice antitrust Division.
So it looks like we will have insiders making decisions that will affect what you will or will not see on TV and cable. Let’s take Maureen K. Ohlhausen, one of four commissioners on the Federal Trade Commission which oversees antitrust enforcement. She was legal counsel for Comcast just before joining the FTC. She also represented NBC Universal in the year before becoming a Commissioner in April 2012. NBC Universal completed its merger with Comcast January 2011. Comcast has placed its people in the regulatory apparatus that is going to approve whether or not it can merge with Time Warner .
FTC Commissioner Joshua Wright began his term last month, he is a Republican. He worked for the economic consulting firm Charles River Associates since 2009. According to his disclosure statement he was on a team of auditors that had been retained to secure “antitrust clearance from the DOJ and FCC” for NBC Universal merger with Comcast. Before he became the Commissioner, he earned $900,000 in outside income consulting for Charles River Associates.