Talking tech since 2003

Is Comcast involving itself in Seattle’s mayoral politics? It certainly appears that way. A Washington Post report dives into the company’s recent political donation activity, as well as some of the donations made by Comcast executives, and has come to the conclusion that Comcast is funneling money to Seattle mayoral candidate and State Sen. Ed Murray (D-Seattle). Murray is challenging incumbent mayor Mike McGinn in a contest that will be decided on Tuesday.

mike-mcginnWhat’s Comcast’s stake in all of this, you ask? Well, it just so happens that McGinn is the driving force behind a public/private partnership to bring gigabit Internet to Seattle. The company Seattle is planning with, Gigabit Squared, wants to offer a 1 gigabit connection for $80 — about $35 less than Comcast currently charges its customers for 105 Mbps service.

It seems that, rather than compete on service or price, Comcast finds it more cost-effective to work against re-electing McGinn.

The Post’s Andrea Peterson follows several money trails between Comcast and PACs supporting Ed Murray, but I feel this one is the most damning:

The Broadband Communications Association of Washington PAC, which received 94 percent of its 2013 contributions from Comcast, donated $5,000 to the group People for Ed Murray less than a month after Gigabit Squared’s pricing announcement.

Comcast later responded to The Post’s story with this:

In a statement to The Post, Comcast denied their donations to the Murray campaign were related “in any way to any actions of the current Mayor,” . . .

…which is basically what you’d say if you wanted to donate to a competing campaign while, at the same time, hedging your bets. Comcast knows that McGinn could very well win re-election, so instead of coming out in full force against the current mayor of Seattle, the company is trying to back his opponent as quietly and uncontroversially as possible.

We’ll keep an eye on this one and let you know if we hear more before Election Day, which is this coming Tuesday.

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