A source confirms Charter has boosted its Washington presence (fewer than a dozen people) with some outside consultants/lobbyists to help navigate its proposed Time Warner Cable merger through the FCC, Justice and on the Hill.
Unlike Comcast, Charter is not a household name in policy circles, which could work to its advantage since it carries little baggage into the process. Either way it is no surprise to find it reaching out to lobbyists from both sides of the aisle.
According to lobbying disclosure forms, that new muscle includes Tim Kurth of Heartland Strategies, former assistant to then-Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), who is listed as dealing with "mergers and acquisitions—specifically telecommunications issues related to Charter's proposed deal with Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks; and Ed Pagano of Akin Gump, former deputy assistant to the president in the Obama Administration, who is also listed as dealing with the proposed merger.
The Hill first reported the disclosures.
Look for a couple more consultants to be added as the process continues. The FCC has opened a docket on the deal, but has yet to issue a public notice setting comment deadlines.
Charter also enlisted net neutrality advocate and political strategist Marvin Ammori to consult it on the network neutrality commitment it is making as part of the deal, essentially a given condition these days in any proposed merger of broadband operators. In fact, Ammori wrote the conditions himself, which he outlined in a blog post last month and called the strongest ever devised.