Comcast's lobbying budget grew from $570,000 in 2001 to more than $12.5 million in 2008, according to a report by the Center for Responsive Politics. "Comcast is the big elephant in the room ... (it's) acting more like a telephone company than a traditional cable company," said Gigi Sohn, president of Public Knowledge, a non-profit organization that aims to "defend citizens' rights in the emerging digital culture."
And Comcast isn't the only cable company spending money to make sure the nation's lawmakers and regulators hear its side of the story; the National Cable and Telecommunications Association has more than doubled its lobbying to $14.4 million over the same period.
Comcast and the cable industry are facing a raft of political issues, including backlash over cable TV prices and concerns the cable giant will squash competitors on the Internet.
Comcast's telco competitors, AT&T and Verizon also have increased their spending in Washington: Verizon's lobbying rose to $18 million in 2008 from $8.2 million in 2001, and AT&T boosted its lobbying to $15.1 million in 2008 from $6.1 million in 2005.
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