For those of you who haven't been following the debate over "net neutrality" and the COPE bill you should hop over to the Editor's Blog at the new Congresspedia. Conor Kenny has provided a quick and accurate summary of the issue. Essentially, the telephone and cable companies want to be able to create a tiered system in the Internet where they control the content. The industry has spent hundreds of thousands lobbying on the issue and recently defeated an effort by Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) to ensure the freedom of internet by establishing "net neutrality". Markey's amendment failed in a subcommittee vote 34-22. The COPE bill is cosponsored by four congressmen Reps. Joe Barton (R-TX), Chip Pickering (R-MS), Fred Upton (R-MI), and Bobby Rush (D-IL). As usual these congressmen acting in the interest of the telecommunications industry have some explaining to do. Last week we found out about the $1 million grant that SBC/AT&T gave to a community center founded by Bobby Rush. It just so happens to turn out that Barton and Upton both own dividends in the companies that would benefit from the legislation. Barton owns between $1,000-$15,000 in dividends of SBC, one of the principle players in the COPE bill. Upton owns between $1,000-$15,000 in dividends in SBC, AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon. In a trust that Upton does not control he owns between $15,000-$50,000 of dividends in SBC and between $1,000-$15,000 in dividends of Verizon. Well, I guess that Barton, Upton, and the cable and telecom companies are set to make some money off of this bill. Everybody wins ... except for Internet users.Continue reading
- Paul Kiel at TPM Muckraker looks into Rep. John Doolittle's (R-CA) stonewall on his wife's fundraising arrangement. Doolittle has claimed that the House Ethics Committee okayed his wife's questionable practice (that has been denounced by the Association of Fundraising Professionals) but refuses to show evidence. Kiel writes, "if Doolittle asked for the committee's opinion, he would have received it in written form. Unfortunately, the committee keeps such opinions confidential. So it's not coming out unless Doolittle publishes it. And for some bizarre reason he's clinging to that exculpatory piece of evidence. It makes you wonder." Let me just cradle my chin with my thumb and index finger and say, "Yes, it does make me wonder."
- Chris Cillizza takes a look at Democratic Leadership PACs at the Washington Post's The Fix.
- Mark Tapscott continues the outrage fest at the very, very unkosher emergency spending bill. He links to a Heritage Foundation study that shows how out of control pork-barrel spending is getting.
- And finally, Matt Stoller posts at Daily Kos to vent his frustration at Bobby Rush (D-IL) - and to get the many Kossacks to call up Rush's office - for cosponsoring the Internet give-away bill while receiving funding for his community center from the very phone companies supporting the bill. Stoller says, "Not cool."
Justin Rood has raked some muck on Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL), the chief Democratic co-sponsor of the "Kill the Internet" bill. Rood writes, "Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL), the main Democratic co-sponsor of a controversial bill that would give control of the Internet to big phone companies, is in AT&T's pocket, critics are charging." The charges come in a Chicago Sun-Times article from this morning:
An Englewood community center founded by Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), a key player on telecommunications legislation, received a $1 million grant from the charitable arm of SBC/AT&T, one of the nation's largest phone companies. ... On Wednesday, the energy and commerce panel on which Rush sits is set to vote on a controversial rewrite of telecommunications law co-sponsored by Rush and backed by major phone companies eager to compete with cable television companies.For more on this bill check out Josh Marshall's post here. UPDATE: My colleague Larry Makinson has more on Bobby Rush down the hall at Dollarocracy. Continue reading