Comcast has given $25,900 to Jerry Brown’s gubernatorial bid, but it does not necessarily mean that the company is betting on the Democratic contender to win the race.
A company source says that a similar amount will be given to rival Meg Whitman’s campaign in the coming weeks. Its contribution to Brown was disclosed on Tuesday in campaign filings to California’s Secretary of State.
As California’s attorney general, Brown could weigh in on Comcast’s proposed joint venture with NBC Universal. According to Business Week, his office has been involved in the Department of Justice’s antitrust review of the transaction, along with his counterparts in other states. A spokeswoman for Brown’s office, Christine Gasparac, says that they cannot confirm or deny whether they are investigating the transaction. Brown was among the 16 attorneys general involved in the DOJ settlement of Ticketmaster’s merger with LiveNation earlier this year.
More than anything, Comcast may simply be covering its bases. Among media companies, its PAC and employees are the most prolific contributors to federal candidates in the 2010 cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The same is true at the state level in California, with the company having made contributions to more than 160 candidates and committees of both parties so far this cycle, according to state campaign finance records. The records show that the company gave $14,900 to Brown’s campaign in May. Comcast also has a history of supporting Brown: The company also gave $1,000 to his re-election campaign for attorney general in December and $10,000 to that campaign in March, 2008. (That money can be rolled into his gubernatorial bid).
Comcast gave $1,000 to Whitman’s exploratory committee in November, as well as $1,000 to her rival in the primary, Steve Poizner. Late last year, Comcast’s chief operating officer, Steve Burke, held a fund-raiser for Whitman, whom he worked with at the Walt Disney Co. in the early 1990s.
Comcast’s joint venture with NBC Universal is expected to get word on approval from the DOJ and the FCC by the end of the year.