- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 27, 2016

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - The Latest on Vermont regulator hearing Comcast case while company PAC donates to husband’s congressional campaign.

6:20 p.m.

Vermont Public Service Board member Margaret Cheney has announced she’s stepping aside from a case in which cable giant Comcast is requesting a renewal of its state license.

The announcement came Wednesday after The Associated Press reported that while the case is pending before the board, Comcast’s PAC has donated a total of $8,000 to the re-election campaign of Cheney’s husband, Democratic Congressman Peter Welch.

Welch, meanwhile, issued a statement saying he would no longer take campaign contributions from companies or employees of companies with business before the Public Service Board.

The situation raised questions about whether the couple needed to take steps to avoid any appearance of improper influence over Cheney’s actions as a board member created by campaign contributions to Welch.

Welch said he wants to eliminate any perception of influence going forward.


3:30 p.m.

Congressman Peter Welch has received $8,000 this election cycle from the PAC of cable giant Comcast, while his wife sits on a state regulatory board considering a major case involving the company.

Public Service Board member Margaret Cheney tells The Associated Press she had no knowledge of the contributions.

Ethics codes issued by the administration of Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin and by the board say officials should take steps to guard against situations in which their impartiality could be questioned.

Cyrus Patten, of the group Campaign for Vermont, which promotes government ethics and transparency, says Welch and Cheney should know about any such situations and take steps to avoid them.

A Welch spokeswoman says he denies any impropriety.

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