When Biden announced that he was running for the White House, he topped it off with a fundraiser hosted by Comcast Executive Vice President David L. Cohen. Cohen, the “shadow lobbyist” for the parent company of MSNBC, was a longtime power player in both the corporate world and among Philly Democrats, and he had a special connection with Biden.
The political boss turned wealthy executive was the chair of Penn’s Board of Trustees.
In 2018, Biden and Cohen, wielding giant scissors, clumsily cut through a banner inaugurating the Penn Biden Center. “All of us at Penn are immensely proud and privileged to have Vice President Biden leading the work of the Center and to have his name associated with Penn’s name,” Cohen claimed.
After classified documents were illegally found to have been stored at the building near the Capitol, the University of Pennsylvania may be less thrilled by the association. But Cohen had already left to become Biden’s ambassador to Canada while the university’s president, Amy Gutmann, resigned to become Biden’s ambassador to Germany.
Biden was paid $911,643 for nine campus appearances, but he also got some office space and roles for key insiders like future Secretary of State Blinken and lobbyist/adviser Steve Ricchetti.
At the intersection of the classified documents scandal is one company: Comcast.
Previously, we exposed Comcast CEO Brian L. Roberts as the King of Hate Media, but Comcast’s tentacles go even deeper than the lies and hate spewed on NBC and MSNBC.
Along with Cohen, also hosting Biden was Comcast’s VP of Community Investment Charisse Lillie. Biden’s opening act fundraiser at Cohen’s home raised over $700,000. Both six-figure sums were part of a river of cash that flowed between Comcast, Biden and UPenn.
Cohen had started out as a chief of staff to Philly Mayor Ed Rendell. A year after leaving office, Rendell became a political analyst for NBC and MSNBC. And, with the Comcast takeover of NBC underway, his former chief of staff became the executive vice president of Comcast.
When he stepped down, Cohen was the third largest individual Comcast shareholder behind Roberts and the boss of NBC Universal. And those shares were worth a lot more than they used to. Comcast shares rose from $15.90 before the merger to $26 after the merger. Today they’re at around $40. But the key to pulling all that off was a green light from the Obama administration.
Comcast launched an unprecedented campaign to secure the administration’s approval for its NBCUniversal merger, recruiting black leaders, including Sharpton, who scored his own MSNBC show despite his manifest unfitness for the job, to the University of Pennsylvania.
Comcast, under CEO Brian L. Roberts, had spread a lot of money around, including at UPenn, but it was Cohen, the political insider who made it all come together.
The Washington Post described Cohen as “Comcast’s secret weapon”. The New York Times called him, “Comcast’s Real Repairman” for having “led the effort to win support at the Federal Communications Commission for another huge merger.”
Comcast’s secret weapon had his own “secret weapon” inside the Obama administration.
As reported at Front Page Magazine, Brian L. Roberts’s wife had donated $152,000 to fund the Biden campaign. That was nothing compared to Cohen, whose name appeared on the Biden campaign’s list of bundlers. MSNBC’s Morning Joe rushed to Biden’s defense after he was accused of misconduct with women. And MSNBC talent promoted him during the primaries.
But the Penn Biden Center shows that the relationship predates the campaign.
That would be 30 years now.
“I know them personally, like and respect them, and believed that they were the superior choice,” Cohen bragged.
The Comcast merger was still underway, but it had been officially signed off on by Obama’s DOJ in 2011. The Obama administration had done for Comcast what the Clinton administration had done for Google, and Cohen, who had been brought on board for his connections, appeared to be showing his appreciation to the Obama-Biden campaign.
The Obama administration had helped make Cohen powerful and wealthy. A year later, Philadelphia magazine described Cohen as the third most powerful person on its influential list.
The third leg of the relationship that connected Comcast, Biden and UPenn was China.
Comcast had invested heavily in China. A wealth management professional had warned that “one of the greatest uncontrollable risks, moreover, is Comcast’s reliance on operations in China, which include everything from major feature film releases to a theme park, and to NBA basketball games.”
The University of Pennsylvania had allegedly received over $67 million from China. And over 160 members of the faculty had signed a letter urging the Biden administration to drop the Trump’s administration’s China Initiative which had been cracking down on the Communist dictatorship’s espionage and recruitment programs.
The National Legal and Policy Center revealed in its FARA complaint that in 2020, during the pandemic, “Penn Global sponsored its fourth annual 2020 Penn China Research Symposium on January 31, 2020, that included opening remarks by Ambassador Huang Ping, Consul-General of the People’s Republic of China.”
At Penn Biden, Comcast and China collided with Cohen overseeing a ribbon cutting for a center that seemed to do little except send Biden money while taking in Chinese cash, employ Biden’s future staffers and illegally store classified documents. The Penn Biden Center, with its “gleaming high tech” spaces near an Amtrak stop, for Biden’s convenience, was just the manifestation of everything that was wrong with Biden, his party and its circle of influential fixers with big wallets and bigger plans. Just another little round of “pay-to-play” in Philly.
Comcast is bigger than ever while America has grown smaller. The price for the private interests of a few is being paid by millions of Americans and by the national security of a nation under siege.
This piece was originally published by the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
Daniel Greenfield is the Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.