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The FCC is at it again, ignoring the public interest to give handouts to massive corporations. This time, Chairman Kevin Martin has thrown the FCC’s ethics out the window to rush through the mega-merger of AT&T and BellSouth.
Martin is forcing one commissioner, Robert McDowell, to overlook a conflict of interest and rubber stamp the AT&T merger without safeguards for Net Neutrality — the longstanding principle that prevents Internet providers from discriminating between Web sites.
This move could undermine basic freedoms for all Internet users. Together, we can stop Martin:
Chairman Martin is racing to deliver special favors to AT&T before the incoming Congress can provide oversight. Commissioner McDowell rightly “recused” his vote on the merger because he had prior business ties affected by the deal. That left the FCC in a 2-2 tie.
Rather than negotiate with commissioners in good faith, AT&T and Chairman Martin have resorted to strong-arm tactics to force McDowell to violate his ethical standards and vote for the merger.
Congress has begun to respond to Martin’s outrageous behavior. Incoming House leaders John Dingell (D-Mich.) and Edward Markey (D-Mass.) sent a letter to Martin Tuesday demanding that the merger be handled “without compromising the ethical standards of the independent agency or the individual Commissioners involved.”
This objection was echoed in the Senate by incoming Commerce Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye. He wrote to Martin: “I hope you will reconsider your decision to waive the ethical rules presently precluding Commissioner McDowell’s participation and return to serious negotiations with your colleagues at the Commission. These rules and the rules of professional responsibility in general exist for a reason and should not be tossed away lightly.”
We agree. To stop this unethical abuse of power, we need to make sure other members of Congress know about Martin’s action and put a stop to it. Sign this letter to Congress today. Your comments will also be sent to the FCC:
Don’t let Chairman Martin skirt accountability and sell out Internet freedom. Take action now.
1. Learn more about how this merger could affect you. Visit www.freepress.net/att.
Robert W. McChesney, a former coeditor of Monthly Review, recommends that you do your part to save Net Neutrality.