Comcast Helps Pay For Fancy Dinner Honoring FCC Commissioner
We are sure the following news has absolutely nothing, nothing at all to do with the fact that the Federal Communications Commission will review the proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner, decide whether to approve that merger — and, if approved, decide what conditions to set on the merger.
Comcast and Time Warner are apparently combining to spend more than $130,000 on a dinner to honor an FCC commissioner.
Comcast will pay $110,000 to be a top-level “presenting sponsor” at the Walter Kaitz Foundation’s annual dinner in September, at which FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn is receiving the “diversity advocate” award, according to a foundation spokeswoman. Time Warner Cable paid $22,000 in May to the foundation for the same event, according to a Senate lobbying disclosure filed at the end of last month. The foundation supports diversity in the cable industry.
There are no rules preventing businesses from helping to honor regulators in this way, and both companies say they have supported the foundation for years.
Somehow, though, some people think the whole thing looks kind of fishy! “I think that the timing is curious,” said Carrie Levine, research director at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, told Politico. “They’re honoring an FCC commissioner at the exact same time they’re trying to get approval for a merger. And that doesn’t look so good.”
We’re not so sure. If you’re Comcast and Time Warner, this might look great. But for the record: Comcast denies its donation is an attempt to curry favor with the commissioner.