Angry Groups Target Democrats Who Voted for Pai

Equate FCC chair's reconfirmation with opposition to open internet

Fight for the Future is going after the four Democratic senators who joined with Republicans in voting to confirm FCC chair Ajit Pai to another term at the FCC.

Many Democrats took to the floor during this week's vote to decry Pai's deregulatory policies, particularly his proposal to roll back Title II classification of ISPs and rethink the Open Internet order's rules against blocking, throttling and paid prioritization; those against the confirmation said loudly they would vote against him, suggesting his policies were anti-consumer and anti-net neutrality.

But Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.) voted to confirm Pai for another five-year term at the agency.

Fight for the Future said it was targeting those lawmakers with crowdfunded billboards to be placed in their districts calling them out for their votes (see mock-up, pictured).

FFTF pointed out that it and other net-neutrality activists (Demand Progress and Free Press among them), had not put the four in the 'Team Cable' category on their Congressional Scorecard web site, joining nine Republicans who had most prominently supported Pai's Title II rollback proposal.

Cable ops could be forgiven for scratching their heads over that designation. McCaskill has been one of the cable industry's strongest critics.

“Every member of Congress needs to understand that you can’t vote against the free and open Internet and get away with it,” said Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future, in a statement that sounded like bridges burning between the group and at least for Democrats. "[L]et this be a lesson to any lawmaker considering going against the interests of their constituents to support legislation or FCC action that undermines existing net neutrality rules.”

“By voting to confirm Ajit Pai, these senators fundamentally failed Americans who rely on, or are in need of an open and affordable internet,” added Mark Stanley, director of operations for Demand Progress.