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The attempt to intimidate Netcompetition's free speech continues

National Journal's Tech Daily recycled an old factually incorrect charge about in its article today on how grassroots groups are lobbying the Senate to omit themselves from the Senate's Ethics and lobbying law.  

I have asked National Journal for a correction for recycling the factually wrong assessment of Common Cause that is an "astroturf" grass roots group. 

  • I systematically refuted Common Cause's bogus report in August in my blog on Common Cause's report. It was a blatant attempt to intimidate free speech that backfired.
  • has always been fully disclosed that we are a forum representing the views of broadband companies. There is no secret here! No "astro-turfing" here.
  • is good old American free speech that Common Cause and its net neutrality supporters don't like and want to stamp out.
  • Its pathetic and unethical when people try and abuse the ethics and disclosure laws to single out people or groups whose speech they want to limit or discredit.

The offending excerpt of the Tech Daily article is below:

  • "In August, Common Cause issued a report about five purported grassroots consumer groups linked to telephone and cable industries that opposed network neutrality legislation, which would stop dominant network owners from charging preferred content providers more for faster traffic.
         The groups named included The Future ... Faster, Hands Off the Internet, NetCompetition, TV4US and the Video Access Alliance. The report said the groups claimed to represent huge numbers of citizens but in reality were front groups for telecom and cable corporations.
         Craig Aaron, a spokesman for the grassroots group Save the Internet Coalition that supported a net neutrality mandate, said he is not familiar with all the details of S. 1, but he said curtailing astroturf campaigns would be a good thing.
         "In general, we support all the disclosure we can get," Aaron said. "If it requires more paperwork for us, that's a price worth paying for [these groups] to come clean on what they're doing." "

Sure the SaveTheInternet folks would love to regulate the free speech of their political opponents; these are the same folks that want to regulate away the freedom of broadband companies that haven't done any of the bogus parade of horribles they have been accused of.  These are the people who believe companies are "guilty until proven innocent."

I trust that the Senate, the political process, and/or the courts will appropriately dispose of this outrageous and unethical attempt to take away free speech under the guise of ethics and lobbying reform.