FCC looks into Sikes party propriety

A Federal Communications Commission ethics officer is investigating whether FCC staffers improperly solicited donations from industry groups for a going-away party for outgoing chairman Al Sikes.

“We had an inquiry and it’s under review,” said agency ethics honcho Jeff Ryan.

FCC bylaws prohibit the solicitation of gifts or cash from industry groups that are regulated by the commission. Ryan is reportedly exploring whether telephone, broadcasting and cable-trade organizations were asked to contribute refreshments or money for the event.

Representatives of both the National Cable Trade Assn. and the National Assn. of Broadcasters denied providing money or refreshments for the event, although the trade orgs did send their corporate logos to decorate the party.

Ken Robinson, a senior legal adviser to Sikes who helped organize the event, said that as far as he knows, money was raised through contributions by FCC employees and that no trade groups were asked to pony up.

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