- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 14, 2017

Democratic attorneys general wasted no time Thursday in vowing to sue the Federal Communications Commission over its decision to repeal the Obama-era net neutrality rule.

Minutes after the FCC’s 3-2 vote, New York Attorney General Schneiderman announced he would form a multi-state coalition to “stop the illegal rollback,” while Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said he would file a petition in the next few days.

“The FCC just gave Big Telecom an early Christmas present, by giving internet service providers yet another way to put corporate profits over consumers,” said Mr. Schneiderman in a statement. “Today’s rollback will give ISPs [internet service providers] new ways to control what we see, what we do, and what we say online. That’s a threat to the free exchange of ideas that’s made the Internet a valuable asset in our democratic process.”

The Democrats have tangled frequently with the Trump administration, having challenged the president’s immigration ban and other policies.

“We are 5-0 against the Trump Administration because they often fail to follow the law when taking executive action,” Mr. Ferguson said in a statement. “There is a strong legal argument that with this action, the federal government violated the Administrative Procedure Act — again.”

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who has filed 22 lawsuits on 17 subjects against the Trump administration according to the Sacramento Bee, condemned the net neutrality repeal but stopped short of saying he would sue.

Mr. Schneiderman had asked the FCC to delay a vote after he said he found as many as two million comments on the proposed net neutrality rulemaking that falsely used the identities of real New Yorkers and other Americans, including dead people.

FCC chairman Ajit Pai has said he was focused on the quality of the comments, not the quantity, while the National Legal and Policy Center said it found as many comments in favor of net neutrality as against it in its forensic analysis of the phony filings.

Mr. Schneiderman “would have you believe that only anti-net neutrality messages were fraudulent, when in fact we found that millions, and perhaps a majority, of the pro-net neutrality comments were counterfeit. It is obvious that there were fake filings on both sides,” said NLPC president Peter Flaherty.

The FCC voted to restore the “light touch” regulatory framework over internet service providers that existed for nearly 20 years before the commission voted to implement the Title II rule in 2015, and returned jurisdiction over illegal practices to the Federal Trade Commission.

Mr. Pai said the repeal will foster greater innovation and investment, which he argued has declined under the more onerous net-neutrality regulations.

Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, who has called net neutrality “Obamcare for the internet,” commended the FCC for removing the regulations that gave “sweeping power to unelected bureaucrats who would have the ability to dictate every aspect of the internet.”

“Moving forward, the message for government regulators and Congress should be simple—the internet should be free of taxation, censorship and regulation,” said Mr. Cruz. “Simply put — leave the internet alone.”

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