The Connection Between Comcast and Tom Corbett

A campaign donation. A shiny new tower. Will Bunch connects the dots.

There was plenty of cynicism expressed last February when Comcast’s David L. Cohen—a longtime Democratic fundraiser—announced his support for embattled Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican. “Comcast certainly wants a friend in Harrisburg — not just in the governor’s mansion but on the state regulatory boards whose members are appointed largely by Corbett,” one left-wing blog wrote at the time.

Now, the Daily News’ Will Bunch connects the dots between Cohen’s support and Comcast’s newly announced tower for Philly:

What if I told you a story about a nationally known Democratic fundraiser and friend to President Obama who surprised some people by raising money and voicing support for a conservative Republican?. A short time later, the GOP politician’s administration awards that fundraiser’s profitable company millions to help build an massive new office.

You might have guessed that I’m talking about Comcast’s No. 3 executive David L. Cohen, the former top aide to then-mayor Ed Rendell who has hosted megabucks fundraisers for Obama in his home. But just last February, Cohen surprised some by saying that he expected to support Republican Gov. Corbett and hosting an event that raised $200,000 for Corbett’s stumbling campaign.

The other day, Corbett came back to help Cohen’s cable giant announce that it was going to build a second skyscraper in Philadelphia, the tallest building between New York and Atlanta. (Full disclosure, the development firm on the project is led by one of the owners of this newspaper.) And to help Comcast — which made more than $12 billion in profits its last full reporting year of 2012 — get the job done, the governor came bearing gifts — $30 million in construction grants and $4.5 million for job creation. A cynic might say that a $34.5 million return on a $200,000 investment in Corbett is a pretty good return.

Bunch is careful to add: “Not only is the state throwing so much taxpayer cash at Corbett’s new fundraising buddy perfectly legal, but the citizenry is perfectly numb to these dealings of the rich and famous,” he writes, and adds: “Is it too late for Schools Superintendent William Hite to arrange a Corbett fundraiser?”