FCC chair Ajit Pai said neither he nor his staff talked with AT&T representatives during the period when the company was making monthly payments to Donald Trump's then-attorney Michael Cohen.
Pai's comments came during a press conference following the FCC's public meeting Thursday (May 10) in response to a question from Bloomberg reporter Todd Shields.
AT&T has confirmed it paid Cohen's company, Essential Consultants, but said it was paying for insights into the new administration, reportedly including Trump's position on net neutrality, and that it was not for legal or lobbying work.
One insight AT&T was certainly interested in is how the President viewed the proposed AT&T-Time Warner merger.
Candidate Trump had said his administration would block an effort to combine AT&T with CNN parent Time Warner. He has been a vocal critic of the cable news net as one of the ringleaders of what he says has been a liberal media "fake news" attack on his presidency.
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.