Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is demanding answers from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) over its diversity mandate, according to a Friday letter obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Cruz, as ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, is objecting to a CPB provision that requires radio and television broadcast networks to comply with race-based policies in order to qualify for grants, according to the letter addressed to CPB President and CEO Patricia de Stacy Harrison. The senator accuses CPB of modifying its existing diversity policies regarding which broadcasting networks can receive public funding to go around civil rights law that bars such race-based decisions.

“The Public Broadcasting Act states that the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (‘CPB’) should support telecommunications services ‘which will constitute an expression of diversity.’ This is a mandate to fund different types of television and radio stations, broadening the range of public media content,” Cruz wrote. “Yet CPB has misconstrued such statutory language to restrict its community service grants (‘CSGs’) to stations that strive to be ‘diverse’ by considering traits like race and ethnicity in hiring and workforce development. Meanwhile, CPB board members openly discuss circumventing civil rights laws to allow for unlawful discrimination.”

Ted Cruz Letter To CPB by Daily Caller News Foundation

CPB’s CSG’s aim to help “foster an inclusive and diverse workforce,” while providing funding for community outreach, programming and content development, according to the corporation’s current budget.

The entity mandates broadcasters that receive funding through the CSG “engage in practices designed to reflect the diversity of the populations [they] serve,” according to the eligibility criteria for radio and television. Grantees must conduct an annual review to revise the station’s “diversity goal,” maintain a “diversity statement,” undertake an annual diversity initiative and implement diversity into recruiting practices.

The senator is questioning the legality of the mandate following the U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down the use of racial prejudice in the college admissions process in late June, holding that the practice violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. The Biden administration subsequently urged colleges and universities to continue racially discriminating in the name of diversity.

Cruz requested that CPB provide documents and answers in response to eight questions relating to its diversity mandate no later than Dec. 22, according to the letter. A CPB spokesperson acknowledged the receipt of Cruz’s letter and told the DCNF they will be providing responses as requested.

The Public Broadcasting Act established CPB in 1967 to be run by a nine-member board, appointed by the president of the United States and approved by the Senate. Cruz sent the letter ahead of a CPB directors meeting on Monday.

Mary Lou Masters on December 11, 2023

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