American Oversight Seeks Release of FCC Net Neutrality Communications

Washington, DC – Nonpartisan ethics watchdog American Oversight today opened an investigation into FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s proposal to roll back the net neutrality rules that protect open access to the internet.

“The internet access of more than 300 million Americans should not be shaped behind closed doors by a handful of high-powered industry lobbyists,” said Austin Evers, Executive Director of American Oversight. “The guiding principle of the internet has been the free and open exchange of ideas and information, and Americans have a right to know who is influencing the FCC and what arguments they’re making.”

Following Pai’s announcement of the policy change on Wednesday, April 26, American Oversight submitted Freedom of Information Act requests seeking records of communications between senior FCC officials and the telecommunications industry, the media, and Congress regarding the net neutrality issue.

American Oversight’s request includes calendars, calendar entries, and records of communications with internet service providers for Pai and FCC leadership, including: Chief of Staff Matthew Berry, Senior Counsel Nicholas Degani, Acting Wire Line Advisor Jay Schwarz, Policy Advisor Nathan Leamer, and Acting Wireless Advisor Rachael Bender. A second FOIA request seeks communications between FCC officials and both Congress and the media to determine if officials are being consistent in their public and private statements about net neutrality.

According to news reports, Pai has been holding meetings with industry groups in recent weeks to discuss his net neutrality proposal, but the FCC has not been willing to release details of those meetings to the public.

Part of Investigation: