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Report: Obama did not pressure the FCC’s vote on net neutrality

Documents show Obama did not pressure the FCC to adopt net neutrality rules.


Andrew Wyrich


Posted on Dec 18, 2017   Updated on May 22, 2021, 7:37 am CDT

A Republican claim that former President Barack Obama bullied the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) into adopting net neutrality rules was debunked by the agency’s own Office of the Inspector General, according to a new report.

Internal documents show the FCC Office of the Inspector General investigated claims that Obama meddled in the process of adopting the 2015 net neutrality rules and found that there was “no collusion between the White House and the FCC,” according to Motherboard.

“We found no evidence of secret deals, promises, or threats from anyone outside the Commission, nor any evidence of any other improper use of power to influence the FCC decision-making process,” the report says.

Republicans had previously said the net neutrality rules were forced on the FCC after Obama released a statement in support of the idea in 2014. The documents obtained by Motherboard show that the delay in voting on net neutrality from 2014 to 2015 was not because of any White House involvement, but rather because the rules were not yet ready.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, an appointee of President Donald Trump, used the idea of the Obama administration pressuring the FCC for a ruling on net neutrality as a justification for voting in favor of a repeal last week.

“On express orders from the previous White House, the FCC scrapped the tried-and-true, light touch regulation of the Internet and replaced it with heavy-handed micromanagement,” he said.

Despite the intense public backlash, the FCC voted 3-2 down party lines in favor of repealing the 2015 Open Internet Order, which solidified net neutrality rules. Net neutrality is a founding principle of the internet that ensures all traffic is treated equally.

You can read all of Motherboard’s report here.

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*First Published: Dec 18, 2017, 3:08 pm CST