California assemblyman gushes over Comcast and takes its cash

by Steve Blum • , , , ,

Comcast is a model of modern corporate responsibility, according to assemblyman Adam Gray (D – Merced). In a letter he submitted to the FCC and cited by Comcast as a reason its mega-merger with Time-Warner and market swap with Charter should be approved, Gray showers his love on the company…

I am writing in support of the proposed transaction between Comcast and Time Warner Cable, because, while my constituents appreciate Comcast as a service provider, we are even more grateful to them for their investments in our community.

Comcast has boosted our local schools at seemingly every opportunity. It partners with schools in our area to give thousands of free books to students each year on Dr. Seuss’s birthday. It also sponsors a reading challenge for fifth graders that incentivizes teacher performance.

On its annual Comcast Cares Day, Comcast routinely chooses a local school as one of its project locations.

What could be better than a Comcast Cares Day to warm a legislator’s heart? Well, maybe $11,500 in Comcast campaign cash? No? Okay, how about $60,000?

That’s how much Gray has pocketed from California’s cable and telephone companies, and the cable industry’s Sacramento lobbying front, during the last election cycle and so far in this one, according to the Follow the Money website.

Gray has been a reliable ally. He’s also the author of assembly bill 2272, which was passed by the legislature and is now sitting on Governor Brown’s desk. If Brown signs it, it would just about double the cost of broadband infrastructure projects subsidised by the California Advanced Services Fund by imposing union wage rates and work rules. Which would effectively gut reforms passed last year that allowed independent ISPs to apply for CASF grants and loans. Reforms that were opposed by incumbents, particularly the cable lobby and Comcast.

There’s no way to point to a direct link. All you can do is look at the money Gray received and his efforts on behalf of Comcast, indeed all incumbents, and come to your own conclusions.