Comcast Pulls Sponsorship of Dinner for FCC Commissioner
Comcast and Time Warner have decided not to help sponsor a fancy dinner honoring an FCC commissioner while the FCC reviews their proposed merger, Politico reports.
The paper had earlier reported that Comcast was paying $110,000 to be a “presenting sponsor” at the Walter Kaitz Foundation’s annual dinner in September. (Time Warner added another $22,000.) The problem? The dinner will honor, in part, FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn while her agency has the Comcast-Time Warner merger under review.
There were no rules against the dinner sponsorship, and Comcast denied trying to curry favor. Still, the corporations decided to try to avoid creating even the appearance of a conflict of interest for Clyburn.
Comcast said in a letter that it will make an unrestricted $110,000 contribution to the Kaitz Foundation but is “withdrawing our financial support” for the event asking that “there be no recognition of Comcast at the dinner.” It added: “We do not want either the Commissioner or Kaitz to fall under a shadow as a result of our support for diversity in the cable industry. … By the same token, we do not want to punish Kaitz or detract from its important work.” Charges that it is trying to curry favor with the FCC “are insulting and not supported by any evidence.” Last year it paid $140,000 to the Foundation, including $90,000 from NBCUniversal.