The future of net neutrality is in the hands of Congress, the same lawmakers who have, over the years, received millions from the telecom industry.
Over 100 Republicans in Congress sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai offering support for his plan to bring down the net neutrality rules imposed during President Barack Obama’s presidency.
But as it turns out, all lawmakers who signed the letter are also set to bank from this vote, as all lawmakers in Washington D.C. have received fat donations from the telecom industry at least once. And what’s unfortunate is that not even Democrats were spared. They too have gotten fat contributions from the same industry set to benefit from the recent FCC rule changes.
According to The Verge, the telecom industry donated $101 million to both parties between 1989 and 2017, with Republicans receiving over $55 million and Democrats receiving a little over $45 million.
AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon are believed to have contributed over $45 million in the same period to members of both parties as well, with the top earners being Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), Sen. Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts), Rep. Greg Walden (R-Oregon), and Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland). But all other sitting members of Congress were also generously helped by the three big companies.
Online, commotion to pressure Congress to vote against the rule change has already commenced. The process was made even more urgent after it came to public attention that several attorney generals across the country sent a letter to the FCC expressing their concerns about possible fraud and corruption tied to the net neutrality vote. An investigation is currently underway regarding over 1 million fake comments made to the FCC using real people's names, thereby disrupting the pubic comment process as a whole.
So the FCC voted to kill #NetNeutrality admitting they care more about enriching their corporate sponsors than listening to 83% of Americans.— Dr. Jill Stein?? (@DrJillStein) December 14, 2017
This isn't over. BOMBARD Congress with calls & tell them to defend the free & open internet OR ELSE. Capitol switchboard: (202) 224-3121 pic.twitter.com/lSldLGk523
Yet the question remains: So many lawmakers are in the pockets of the telecom industry, so will they even listen to their constituents?
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters, Yuri Gripas