Why Didn’t LULAC’s Wilkes Disclose

Yesterday, LULAC’s Brent Wilkes wrote an op-ed in the San Jose Mercury News claiming that network neutrality safeguards “could inadvertently lead to a significant widening of the digital divide by slowing the penetration of advanced broadband technologies into Hispanic and other under-served minority communities.” Wilkes is the national executive director of the League of United Latin American Citizens.

Wilkes failed to disclose that LULAC has funding from both Comcast and AT&T, two of the biggest opponents of net neutrality. He should have told the editors about such a conflict of interest and had it prominently included in his op-ed. His position is bad public policy for those LULAC serves. Ironically, it is the very special interests Wilkes defends (Comcast, AT&T, etc.) that are opposed to meaningful policies that would deal with the digital divide. Network neutrality and universal broadband service for all go hand-in-hand. The LULAC board needs to examine its conflict of interest policy to make sure that whenever an official makes a statement, and there is funding from a related vested interest, it is publicly acknowledged.

See LULAC/Comcast release

See LULAC/AT&T Foundation release

From: 2007 LULAC National Legislative Awards Gala

Ford Motor Company

Comcast Corporation
General Motors Corporation
Univision Communications Inc.
Verizon Communications Inc.
Yum! Brands Inc.

American Airlines
Bell South
The Coca-Cola Company
Coors Brewing Company
Miller Brewing Company
PepsiCo, Inc.
The Procter & Gamble Company
Tyson Foods, Inc.

Burger King Corporation
Exxon Mobil
Home Box Office
Nielsen Media Research
Shell Oil Company
State Farm Insurance Companies

Rolls-Royce Corporation

Author: jeff

Jeff Chester is executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy. A former journalist and filmmaker, Jeff's book on U.S. electronic media politics, entitled "Digital Destiny: New Media and the Future of Democracy" was published by The New Press in January 2007. He is now working on a new book about interactive advertising and the public interest.

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