Comcast and Time Warner Cable have pulled $132,000 in donations from an event honoring a current FCC commissioner, according to Ars Technica. Earlier this week the news that the donation was being given to the dinner honoring FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn set off a firestorm of accusations that the companies who would like to become one giant ISP were trying to buy Clyburn's vote on the proposed merger.
Originally Comcast planned to be a "presenting sponsor" with a $110,000 donation for next month's annual dinner of the Walter Kaitz Foundation, which seeks to "advance the contributions of women and multi-ethnic professionals in cable." TWC paid $22,000 for the event. The organization uses that money to make grants to other organizations that promote diversity.
After saying earlier in the week that the accusations were insulting because they had previously donated to the foundation over the last several years, Comcast decided yesterday to back out. The company told the Kaitz Foundation that it is withdrawing its contribution to the dinner and is instead making an "unrestricted contribution" of $110,000 directly to the foundation.
"We have great respect and admiration for FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn and for the Kaitz Foundation and its work," Comcast VP of Community Investment Charisse Lillie wrote. "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, which is why we are withdrawing our support for the dinner."
TWC has also redirected its donation to the foundation's other programs.
Comcast VP of Government Communications Sena Fitzmaurice told Ars Technica today that the Kaitz Foundation is "the cable industry umbrella diversity organization" and that Comcast has supported it for decades.
"We've given at the highest level for several years," Fitzmaurice wrote in an e-mail. "We are the industry leader—in our size and in our commitment to diversity—and it is important that we reflect that in our financial support of the Kaitz Foundation. As the industry has consolidated over time, especially after we became the largest operator in 2003, and then again with acquiring NBC Universal in 2011, we’ve taken a larger role in giving to Kaitz."
Source: Ars Technica