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April 4, 1989

AT&T MANAGER WRITES LEGISLATION

By CBR Staff Writer

An AT&T Co manager has admitted that she is writing legislation to boost government support of high-definition television while working for Representative Mel Levine, but that she is being paid by AT&T: Rhonda Crane is an AT&T government affairs manager, and explains that she is working for the California Democrat under a new science and technology fellowhsip set up by the American Electronics Association, and as part of her duties, she helps write legislation that would set up government-industry consortia to finance the development of high-definition TV, raising eyebrows at the devices used by an industry to work closely with a sympathetic lawmaker and shape legislation that is in its interest – Donald Campbell, director of the US Office of Government Ethics, said the appearance (of a conflict of interest) alone would pose a problem in the executive branch, but Congressional rules are murkier and lawmakers may use unpaid workers to work on legislation, but only if the fellowships don’t give undue advantage to special interest groups or others with direct interest in the legislation, according to an advisory opinion by the House Select Ethics Committee in 1979.

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