Comcast-Funded Latino Groups Celebrate Comcast Merger
While many community advocates expressed skepticism about the proposed merger between Comcast Corporation and Time Warner Cable, a certain subset of Latino organizations immediately celebrated the deal.
The “United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) congratulates Comcast for its planned acquisition of Time Warner Cable,” proclaimed a press release sent to reporters last week. “Comcast is an industry-leader in communications and mass media. Upon the completion of the merger, the company will plant its stake in the ground as one of the world’s most innovative and highly-regarded companies in the field,” said USHCC President and CEO Javier Palomarez.
Another press statement, this one from Brent Wilkes of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, praised the cable giant, declaring, “Comcast NBCUniversal has a strong track record of working with the NHLA and many of its members.” In the release, Wilkes also said his organization plans to engage with Comcast in the “weeks and months ahead.”
Left unsaid in both releases is the fact that the USHCC and Wilkes’ advocacy group have strong financial ties to Comcast.
Last year, Comcast signed on as a Signature-level sponsor of the USHCC’s conference, meaning the company gave at least $100,000 to the organization.
Wilkes is the executive director of the League of United Latin American Citizens, an organization that has received funding from Comcast for years. The League’s 2013 summit, for instance, received $35,000 in sponsorship funds from Comcast. In 2008, Comcast partnered with the organization to sponsor a $5 million civic engagement campaign.
Both Palomarez and Wilkes are members of Comcast’s diversity board. Palomarez’s board membership was disclosed in the USHCC release.
According to The Nation, telecom companies have used funding to minority organizations to build support for their lobbying efforts. As I’ve reported, the Organization for Chinese Americans (OCA), a prominent Asian American civil rights group, sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission opposing Net Neutrality (also known as the Open Internet rule) after receiving funds from Comcast, AT&T and Verizon.