Northern Ireland's water company has been accused of "overstepping the mark" on lobbying after asking to see Press comments from the Assembly before their release.
The organisation was seeking to counter a Belfast Telegraph report on an £8,000 management event that marked its first birthday with cake and party bags.
Its public relations department contacted a Stormont committee and the Consumer Council and said: "If you should be asked to comment, I would appreciate if you would let me know, and of course let me see your statement prior to release."
MLAs have described Northern Ireland Water's request as inappropriate, while the consumer body expressed its surprise.
The corporate event was held at the Hilton Hotel, Templepatrick, on April 16.
Northern Ireland Water has emphasised the "business-focused" nature of the gathering, which included presentations and discussions on its first year and future plans.
But a birthday theme has led to criticism. A cake-cutting was performed, with delegates each receiving a slice. Party bags with sweets were supplied at tables and chart music snippets were played ahead of management presentations.
A draft programme leaked to this newspaper also referred to a birthday tea with "sandwiches, cakes, jelly and ice cream".
NIW's PR team emailed the Assembly Regional Development Committee and the Consumer Council about the Belfast Telegraph story on Wednesday.
The NIW email to the Stormont Regional Development Committee was then forwarded to all its members, including the SDLP's John Dallat.
"This request is clearly overstepping the mark and inappropriate. NIW would be far better concentrating on ensuring its figures are accurate," Mr Dallat said. "Elected representatives should not be asked to send comments for prior viewing or approval."
Eleanor Gill, chief executive of the Consumer Council, said: "We did receive this email with surprise because we had not received one of this prescriptive nature before.
"The Consumer Council believes this email is a complete distraction from the work that we are all trying to do with the Minister and others to get water reform right for consumers. That is what we believe Northern Ireland Water needs to be focussing on also."
A Northern Ireland Water spokesman said: "Northern Ireland Water has never at any stage sought a right of prior approval over the content of other individuals' or organisations' statements."