A local consumer group opposed to the Time Warner-Comcast merger is calling out politicians who write letters in support of the deal.
Stop the Cap says the letter Assemblyman Joe Morelle wrote to the New York Public Service Commission was taken almost word-for-word from a Comcast executive's written testimony to Congress and Comcast press releases.
For example, Morelle wrote, "Comcast has a proven record of investing in new technologies, facilities and customer support to provide the best in broadband Internet access, video and digital voice services."
The sentence is the exact same written by Comcast to Congress.
Morelle's spokesman, Sean Hart, said Comcast approached the assemblyman for his support. "They provided a draft letter of support for our consideration. We made several edits of the letter. This is common practice for any organization asking for an elected official's support to provide a sample letter."
Hart disagreed with Stop the Cap's contention Morelle "plagiarized" the letter, because Comcast gave him the words.
Morelle said he is supporting the deal because he believes it's good for consumers, particularly low-income families. “Comcast has lead the nation in providing affordable broadband access to hundreds of thousands of underserved and low-income families."
"My question is who is Joe Morelle representing? The people in his district or Comcast in this case? i don't know if he's heard from his constituents, but a vast majority of New Yorkers are opposed this merger deal and don't find any consumer benefits in it whatsoever," said Stop the Cap's Phillip Dampier.
Comcast donated $1,000 to Morelle's campaign fund in January.
Stop the Cap also went after Rochester City Councilman Adam McFadden
for writing a letter of support of the merger. Stop the Cap noted Comcast sponsors the National Black Caucus of Elected Officials, which McFadden leads. McFadden told News 8 he only wrote the letter because he dislikes Time Warner Cable. He also said he was not aware of Comcast's support of his group, and didn't believe it was anywhere near the $50,000 amount posted on Stop the Cap.
Dampier notes many of the letters written in support of the merger posted on the PSC website have similar language.
"They think nobody notices. Well, we notice. and we're now going to start airing these letters to the public and if they have nothing to be ashamed of, they should have no problem with us doing that," said Dampier.
Stop the Cap believes Comcast would raise cable prices, not make investments in technology and place data caps on Internet usage.
"It's hard for me to defend Time Warner Cable, but trust me we are far better off with them than Comcast," said Dampier.