Kenneth P. Vogel reviews and assesses Comcast's Washington lobbying power as the FCC and Congress get ready to review the company's planned investment in NBC Universal, here at

"From the beginning of the year through the end of September, the company had already spent more than $9.1 million lobbying Congress. More than $4.8 million of that went toward lobbying by the company's 20-employee Washington team, which includes former aides to Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Sens. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas)... The Senate Commerce Committee, of which Dorgan and Hutchison are members, intends to hold hearings on the merger...

"Comcast through the first three quarters of the year also paid nearly $4.3 million to an array of contract lobbying firms, including ones headed by former Reagan White House chief of staff Ken Duberstein, former Oklahoma Republican Sen. Don Nickles and former Philadelphia Democratic congressman and former United Negro College Fund CEO William Gray III, as well as Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, the Colorado-based firm that helped organize last year's Democratic National Convention in Denver.

"Its all-out charm offensive — at least so far — has muted criticism of the deal as monopolistic and bad for consumers. Those concerns won't stay under the radar for long, though, as media watchdog groups are collecting signatures on anti-merger petitions, while congressional committee leaders have voiced skepticism and announced hearings."

...Inquirer's Bob Fernandez hit the same bases in a story May 17, still available (cached) here.