AT&T bid to sway non-profit falters

WASHINGTON: The AT&T Foundation has been reportedly pressuring an

organization it helps fund, the National Puerto Rican Coalition (NPRC),

to reverse its position on a bill that would increase competition for

parent company AT&T.

The Washington Post wrote on Tuesday that Manuel Mirabal, president and

CEO of the NPRC, had received a letter from Esther Silver-Parker,

president of the AT&T Foundation, asking him to withdraw support for the

Tauzin-Dingell bill, championed by Reps. Billy Tauzin (R-LA) and John

Dingell (D-MI). Mirabal serves as co-chairman for the Hispanic

Technology and Telecommunications Partnership, which supports the

legislation on the grounds it will increase Hispanic access to the


The bill would make it possible for regional Bell companies to provide

high-speed Internet access, a market dominated by cable companies such

as AT&T and Verizon. AT&T believes they should not be able to do so

until they allow greater competition for local phone service.

Silver-Parker assured The Washington Post that the foundation was not

threatening to revoke funding over the issue, but Mirabal was not


In a reply letter he wrote that he was amazed Silver-Parker would use

her position to attempt to influence a non-profit advocacy organization.

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