FCC's Pai, FEC's Goodman Blast Title II

Goodman Also Points to Possible Online Political Speech Regs

The Federal Communications Commission is in its seven-day quiet period before its planned Feb. 26 vote on new network-neutrality rules.

That means both sides of the debate can no longer pitch their positions to FCC officials. But the flood of arguments continues via op eds and releases and 11th-hour events, including arguments by the commissioners themselves.

Republican FCC commissioner Ajit Pai, who has been something of a one-man strike force against agency chairman Tom Wheeler's plan to reclassify Internet access under Title II, has now teamed up with a member of the Federal Election Commission (last week it was a Federal Trade Commission member) to argue that it is "Internet freedom" that Title II threatens.

In an op ed in Politico, Pai and FEC commissioner and former chair Lee Goodman (also a Republican) wrote that both their agencies are calling for new government regs as though freedom were "a vacuum in need of government control."

They called the Title II reclassification  taking a "regulatory hammer" to "a Clinton-era bipartisan consensus that the Internet should be free from intrusive government regulation."

The FEC beef, they said, is with that agency "debating whether to regulate Internet content, specifically political speech posted for free online."

The FEC last fall started collecting comments on whether it should impose new online political disclosure regulations, which Goodman has warned could affect political blogs, websites, webcasts and podcasts, online news providers and news aggregators, social media platforms, video websites and video content posted on the Internet, chat rooms and email, and all other Internet-based forums for political discussion and debate."