The FCC Chairman recently responded to a letter sent by 26 U.S. Senators questioning the legitimacy of comments, as well as the integrity of the Commission itself, in crafting the order to return light touch regulation to the internet. The letter was signed, among others, by Shutdown Schumer, the disgraced Al Franken, Elizabeth (Pocahontas) Warren and Bernie (Free-everything-for-everybody) Sanders.
“Deeply concerned” about the order – apparently more concerned than they were about shutting down the entire U.S. government – the Senators claim “there is good reason to believe that the record may be replete with fake or fraudulent comments, suggesting that your proposal is fundamentally flawed.” They strongly suggest that the order be delayed while the FCC investigates the comment process.
“Bots,” they say, “may have infiltrated the process (and thus poisoned the FCC’s judgment) by filing hundreds of thousands of comments,” while “50,000 consumer complaints seem to have been excluded.” To their credit, the Senators do not claim Russian interference or collusion, but that may be their fall back when they read Chairman Pai’s letter of response.
In it, he replied to the Senators’ accusations with reasoned and measured answers. “The Commission,” he assured them, “does not make policy decisions merely by tallying comments on either side of the proposal.” Rather, it “painstakingly engaged with the voluminous public record in this proceeding.” And “the Commission followed the well-established notice-and-comment process prescribed by the Administrative Procedure Act.”
The Chairman concluded by assuring them that “The process resulted with an order consistent with the Communications Act and the public interest.” That is why he did not delay a vote on the order, as the Senators had asked.
Pai’s arguments will in all probability form the basis for the FCC’s defense in a number of lawsuits filled by several states and private entities to block implementation of the order. The Senators’ letter may also foreshadow an attempt to pass a Resolution of disapproval to overturn the it.
Let’s hope that any potential Senate action doesn’t call for some sort of investigation of the Russians, bots, and fake and fraudulent comments, including all the time wasting, grand standing politics that accompany such bogus escapades. Haven’t we had enough of these already?