American Oversight Sues FCC For Communications With Industry
Above Photo: FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, during the Inaugural Agriculture and Rural Prosperity Task Force Meeting in Washington, DC, on June 15, 2017. An influential paper cited by Pai in his campaign against net neutrality has been found to be “riddled with factual errors.” (Photo: Lance Cheung / USDA)
Lawsuit Seeks Records of Meetings Between FCC Officials and Telecom Industry
Washington, DC – As the Trump administration moves ahead with plans to end Net Neutrality, nonpartisan ethics watchdog American Oversight today sued the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to find out how the telecommunications industry has influenced government regulators.
“The FCC has made it clear that they’re ignoring feedback from the general public, so we’re going to court to find out who they’re actually listening to about Net Neutrality. If the Trump administration is going to let industry lobbyists rewrite the rules of the Internet for millions of Americans, we’re going to make them do it in full view of the public,” said Austin Evers, Executive Director of American Oversight.
American Oversight filed two Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests in April seeking information about meetings and correspondence between the incoming FCC chair Ajit Pai, his senior staff, Congress, and companies in the telecommunications industry. After initially agreeing to process American Oversight’s requests quickly, the FCC repeatedly delayed releasing the records even as the Trump administration continued its work to roll back the open internet rules.
The lawsuit filed today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia asks a judge to order the FCC to release records of its contacts with internet companies so that the public can better understand how this policy decision was made.
Pai announced earlier this year that the FCC would seek to end the Net Neutrality rules that guarantee equal access to the internet and prevent companies from charging higher rates for different types of content. The decision sparked a widespread outcry from many internet users and technology companies, and the FCC has been criticized over its management of the online comment system through which it is soliciting feedback from the public.