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Comcast kept a list of public officials around Washington

Comcast kept a list of public officials around Washington


It didn't give them special service, but it knew who was a subscriber

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Even though Comcast denied giving special customer service to lawmakers and other Washington elites last month, it appears that Comcast did at least keep track of its elite customers in the past. According to Washingtonian, Comcast previously kept a "VIP" list of customers in Montgomery County, Maryland, which borders DC. The list, made as late as 2005, reportedly included local government officials, business leaders, and a congressional field office — though no actual members of Congress. A separate list was made of the area's top-paying customers. Both lists were maintained by Comcast's Potomac office. It's unclear if the practice extended to other offices or continues today.

Comcast says it never gave special service to lawmakers

In a statement to Washingtonian, Comcast once again denied that it has ever given special treatment to these VIPs. "Comcast does not and has not offered special service, perks, or free upgrades to lawmakers or public officials," a spokesperson says. There's no proof that it has — Washingtonian reported last month that Comcast gives priority service to the elite, but that may be part of a broader program that incidentally helps, without explicitly targeting, officials and public figures.

Still, the existence of a VIP list only emphasizes the general concern surrounding Comcast's interactions with lawmakers. The company has incredible power over how we access the internet and is currently trying to merge with Time Warner Cable, potentially creating a single giant towering over the entire industry. So why did Comcast keep a list of VIPs that happened to include government officials? Comcast would like us to think that it's all in the course of standard business, but it isn't saying much beyond that.

Disclosure: Comcast Ventures is an investor in Vox Media, The Verge's parent company.