Congressman Funded by Telecommunications Campaign Cash Proposes Bill to Stop FCC’s Net Neutrality Plans

Earlier this week Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH) filed legislation that would prevent the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from attempting to regulate broadband Internet service as a public utility under Title II of the Telecommunications Act. While the legislation is more of a dramatic public show of support for the idea that the FCC should not have the power to regulate anything, it's also interesting because the Congressman is "bankrolled" by lobbyists for the telecommunications industry.

Congressman Latta received $51,000 from cable company interests in the two-year period ending December 2013, according to data from campaign finance watchdog group OpenSecrets. According to the group, Latta was one of "28 House members who lobbied the Federal Communications Commission to drop net neutrality after receiving more than twice the amount in campaign contributions from the broadband sector than the average for all House members. Latta, who has been a member of Congress since 2007, reportedly received $32,500 from political action committees representing AT&T and AT&T employees during his career, according to OpenSecrets' list of his top contributors. He received an additional $29,500 from the National Cable & Telecommunications Association and $21,000 from Time Warner Cable-linked interests. Verizon PACs and individuals gave him $16,000, the American Cable Association gave him $15,000, CenturyLink PACs gave him $11,400, and Comcast PACs gave him $11,000.

Latta's bill aims to "amend the Communications Act of 1934 to limit the authority of the Federal Communications Commission over providers of broadband Internet access service."

Latta describes his legislation as an attempt to "keep [the] Internet open and accessible."

But the FCC's most recent proposal does not suggest reclassifying broadband as a Title II service; instead it would use Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act to regulate broadband while allowing "fast lanes." That proposal is not finalized and is taking public comment from stakeholders, rights groups, and the general public.

Latta is apparently under the impression that the FCC has decided to reclassify broadband as a common carrier service.

"In light of the FCC initiating yet another attempt to regulate the Internet, upending long-standing precedent and imposing monopoly-era telephone rules and obligations on the 21st Century broadband marketplace, Congress must take action to put an end to this misguided regulatory proposal," Latta said in his announcement. "The Internet has remained open and continues to be a powerful engine fueling private enterprise, economic growth and innovation absent government interference and obstruction. My legislation will provide all participants in the Internet ecosystem the certainty they need to continue investing in broadband networks and services that have been fundamental for job creation, productivity, and consumer choice."

The bill from Latta currently has no co-sponsors. After being introduced on Wednesday, his bill was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Source: Ars Technica

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  1. 0
    lordlundar says:

    Nope and I'll tell you why. people in congress don't write the bills. They only propose them. It's the lobbyists that write the bills and pass it on (along with a little paycheck) to the congress person in question.

  2. 0
    Neeneko says:

    This is one of the problems with money in politics.  Maybe they funded him because he believes in their cause, maybe he is pushing their cause because they funded him and their continued support is contingent on how he votes.

    Judges have reclusion in order to put to bed even the appearance of a conflict of interest, but our campaign funding system has no good mechanism for separating the two.

    As for 'is government regulation good'? Well, when was the last time you lived somewhere without working phone service?  The government can do better then the private sector because the government's objectives are different.  Even when the private sector is at its most effient and innovative, its goals are often out of line or even diametrically opposed to what is good for society as a whole or even the economy as a whole.  

  3. 0
    DorthLous says:

    The problem you have is that to pass cables on private property, you already give preferential treatment to one company or another. You can't force everyone to take all kinds of wires on their lands nor can you have the service be interrupted by a few who don't want to receive it. As such, it behaves as a utility and should have the same constraint as one. Also, DMCA. They want to have nothing to do with what passes on "their" lines? Then they get no say who use them and how.

  4. 0
    Sleaker says:

    Did anyone stop to consider that maybe he actually believes what he's saying and that it's not that he's saying it because money is involved? I don't need to be paid to say the same things he was quoted in this article as saying as I honestly think that keeping government regulation out of the internet is a good idea.

    This might be a circular logic loop, but what comes first? Does he say things that Telecomms like so he gets more funding from them? Or Do they give him money and he in turn says good things about them because of it?  

    I do think that the money stuff looks shady, and I think we need extra laws against contributions from corporate entities as they aren't people (but they get the rights of people?), but the core of what he's saying might still be worth something to consider.  

    Do people here actually think that government regulation of the internet is a great idea? And if so, why do you think the government is going to do anything better than what the private sector hasn't already done?

  5. 0
    Craig R. says:

    We wouldn't be in this situation if the entire worthless lot of them didn't sit there twiddling their thumbs while Ma Bell reformed and all of these companies basically formed monopolies/duopolies across the country, then threw their money behind lobbyists to get them exactly what they want.

    So, yeah, they can all eff off.

  6. 0
    Ryan Rardin says:

    This has no chance of passing. If it gets through the House, it won't survive the Senate. Even if it did, President Obama would veto it, and it takes a super-majority of both houses to override a veto. Therefore, I'd limit your statement to the members of Congress who vote for this bill.

  7. 0
    Ryan Rardin says:

    This guy should be in a federal prison for corruption, not in the House of Representatives.  The lobbyists who got him to introduce this bill should be in there with him. Once they get out, they should not be allowed anywhere near Washington DC.

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