House Democrats Who Haven’t Supported Net Neutrality Yet Have All Taken Money from Telecoms

The deadline to pass the piece of legislation that would allow Congress to overturn the repeal of net neutrality is quickly approaching, yet many Democrats are staying mum.

Posted  94 Views updated 17 days ago

The Democratic members of Congress staying mum on net neutrality have all taken campaign contributions from major telecom companies, according to Federal Election Commission filings.

In May, the Senate passed a joint resolution under the Congressional Review Act that would overturn the Federal Communication Commission’s decision to scrap free internet rules last year. That resolution was then sent to the House, and the Democrats introduced a discharge petition, which, if it gets 218 signatures, will force the House to vote on the resolution even without the recommendation of a committee. The Dems have until December 10 to get 218 signatures, which would require every Democrat and a few Republicans. So far, they have 177 signatures.

That leaves 18 Democrats in the House who have yet to sign the petition, which is, again, the only hope Congress has of voting and passing this resolution to restore net neutrality this year. A Motherboard review of FEC filings shows that each of the representatives has taken thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from one or more major telecom companies, including AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, and the National Cable Television Association (NCTA), an ISP trade group. The only exception is Joseph Morelle (NY-25), who won a special election in November to fill a vacant seat and was recently sworn in. A spokesperson for Morelle told Motherboard he intends to sign the petition.

You don’t even have to scroll very far through any of these members’ campaign contribution filings on the FEC’s website to find a donor from the telecom industry (hint: sort by amount and they’ll be right near the top). To be clear, getting a campaign contribution from a telecom company does not preclude one from supporting net neutrality regulations. In fact even Rep. Mike Doyle, who introduced the discharge petition, has received money from the NCTA. But it’s worth noting these ties, especially because the Democrat holdouts in the House are also in groups that telecom lobbyists aggressively target: those who represent areas where telecom headquarters are located, and Tri-Caucus members.

The CRA approach was always a long shot: not only did the resolution have to pass both chambers, including a GOP-dominated House, but it would also have to be approved by President Trump if it passed. Still, the silence coming from so many Democratic members is deafening, especially on a topic that has such widespread public support. The fact that they have also pocketed a few thousand from the same corporations that want to keep net neutrality repealed is worth noting.

Here are all the Democratic members of house who have yet to sign the petition, and an example of some of the companies that have contributed to their campaigns:

Brendan Boyle (PA-13) - Comcast, Verizon, NCTA

Robert Brady (PA-1) - Comcast

G.K. Butterfield (NC-1) - AT&T and NCTA

Matt Cartwright (PA-17) - Comcast

Jim Costa (CA-16) - AT&T & Comcast

Henry Cuellar (TX-28) - Verizon

Dwight Evans (PA-2) - Comcast

Vicente Gonzalez(Tri-Caucus) - Charter

Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) - NCTA, Charter

Gene Green (TX-29) - Verizon

Tom O'Halleran (AZ-1) - NCTA

David Scott (GA-13) - AT&T

Brad Schneider (IL-10) - Verizon

Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-9) - Comcast

Filemon Vela (TX-34) - Verizon, NCTA

Pete Visclosky (IN-1) - Verizon and NCTA

Frederica Wilson (FL-24) - Comcast


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