The Washington Post

Comcast and Time Warner pull funding for dinner to honor FCC regulator

Pedestrians walk past the Time Warner Cable headquarters in New York February 13, 2014. (Joshua Lott/Reuters)

Comcast and Time Warner Cable have withdrawn their financial support for a fundraising dinner honoring one of the federal regulators who will vote on the companies’ proposed merger.

In a letter to the Walter Kaitz Foundation on Thursday, Comcast vice president Charisse Lillie said the cable giant would pull its planned $110,000 contribution and does not want to be recognized during the event, which will honor Federal Communications Commission member Mignon Clyburn as a diversity advocate.

Lillie said Comcast will still make an equal “unrestricted donation” to the foundation. Time Warner made the same move with its $22,000 contribution to the dinner, informing the nonprofit group of its decision by phone, according to a Politico article.

“We do not want either [Mignon] or Kaitz to fall under a shadow as a result of our support for diversity in the cable industry, which is why we are withdrawing our support for the dinner,” Lillie said in the letter.

The decisions came less than a week after Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and The Washington Post reported that the two companies planned to contribute to the Mignon dinner.

MORE: Comcast and Time Warner fund event for FCC regulator while seeking merger approval

“We’re glad Comcast recognizes donating more than $100,000 to honor a regulator with authority over their pending merger … raises serious questions,” CREW said in a statement on Thursday.

(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Comcast and Time Warner have contributed heavily to the foundation for years.

Comcast and NBC Universal, which joined forces in 2011, have donated at least $120,000 annually to support the group’s fundraising dinner since 2011, and more than $1 million since 2004, the companies said. Time Warner gave between $40,000 and $55,000 annually since 2011, according to a spokesman Bobby Amirshahi.

“We absolutely dispute the notion that our contributions have anything to do with currying favor with Commissioner Clayburn or any honoree,” Comcast’s Sena Fitzmaurice said in a statement this week.

Amirshahi defended Time Warner’s donation on Wednesday, saying the company was “pleased to continue” its contributions after 30 years of support for the Kaitz Foundation.

Clyburn’s office said Wednesday that the commissioner “sought and obtained the requisite ethics approval” to accept the group’s invitation, adding that “it makes sense to honor a champion of diversity and inclusion, the first African American woman on the commission and the only woman in the commission’s 80-year history to serve as its chair.”

Josh Hicks covers Maryland politics and government. He previously anchored the Post’s Federal Eye blog, focusing on federal accountability and workforce issues.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
Don’t be ‘that’ sports parent | On Parenting
Miss Manners: The technology's changed, but the rules are the same
A flood of refugees from Syria but only a trickle to America
Play Videos
John Lewis, 'Marv the Barb' and the politics of barber shops
Kids share best advice from mom
Using Fitbit to help kids lose weight
Play Videos
This man's job is binge-watching for Netflix
Transgender swimmer now on Harvard men's team
Portland's most important meal of the day
Play Videos
5 ways to raise girls to be leaders
How much can one woman eat?
The signature drink of New Orleans
Next Story
Joe Davidson · August 14, 2014

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.