For Immediate Release Why are cable television prices so high? Report shows $100 million spent by cable giants may be part of answer

Posted on October 11, 2006


Report shows $100 million spent by cable giants may be part of answer

A new report by Common Cause answers a question asked by millions of Americans each month: Why are my cable television rates so high?

The first in a series of Ask Yourself Why reports focusing on how average Americans are affected by special interest spending in Washington, this report looks at big cable's $100 million investment in campaign contributions and lobbying. The return on cable's investment has been impressive: A 90 percent increase in cable rates since 1995, and industry friendly regulations that boost profits, coupled with even more consolidation among cable companies. Big cable's spending also has limited the tools that parents have to shield their children from inappropriate cable programs.

"The dependence on campaign contributions from well-funded special interests may be the biggest scandal plaguing Congress," said Common Cause President Chellie Pingree. "American families are paying the price for public policies that favor the wealthy and powerful."

Common Cause found that:

Since 1991, major cable companies and their trade groups have given more than $13.8 million to congressional candidate committees and leadership political action committees (PACs). Nearly $7.7 million went to Republican candidates and more than $6 million to Democrats.

The five Members of Congress who currently are key to big cable's legislative agenda alone have received more than half a million dollars in political contributions from major cable interests during that same period.

Big cable has spent more than $92 million lobbying in Washington since 1998.

The industry's spending and giving has increased dramatically in the past two years as it marshaled its forces to block congressional or regulatory interference with mega mergers, to halt any effort to curb cable rates, and to quash any attempts to permit families to pay for only the cable stations they watch - not only a cost-saving effort but a way to protect children from the more salacious channels.

The Ask Yourself Why series of reports is part of a national campaign by Common Cause and coalition partners for public funding of congressional elections, a system also known as "Clean Elections," used in Maine, Arizona, soon Connecticut, Albuquerque, New Mexico and Portland, Oregon, among other places.

"By forgoing private contributions and agreeing to follow voluntary spending limits, our congressional candidates can be free of all dependence on special interests for their election. Only then will they be free to truly represent the rest of us," Pingree said.

Click here to view the report:http://www.commoncause.org/atf/cf/{FB3C17E2-CDD1-4DF6-92BE-BD4429893665}/COST%20OF%20CABLE.PDF

Office: Common Cause National

Issues: Money in Politics

Tags: Exposing Corporate Power

Common Cause is a nonpartisan grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. We work to create open, honest, and accountable government that serves the public interest; promote equal rights, opportunity, and representation for all; and empower all people to make their voices heard in the political process.

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