Color of Change Goes After Black Congress Members For Attacking Net Neutrality and Supporting Telecoms
"The phone and cable companies are fighting this tooth and nail, calling in favors from organizations and members of Congress they've supported financially for years. Sadly, some civil rights organizations and black members of Congress are attacking net neutrality with dishonest and deceptive arguments handed to them by the telecom lobby. Ten members of the CBC recently signed Rep. Gene Green's letter to the FCC attacking reclassification (Reps. Bobby Rush, G.K. Butterfield, Sanford Bishop, Corrine Brown, Lacy Clay, Alcee Hastings, Gregory Meeks, David Scott, Bennie Thompson, and Marc Veasey). The letter claims to support Internet freedom while doing everything it can to undermine it."
"And it's not just campaign money — since just 2008 the telecom lobby has spent millions on donations to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute (CBCI), nonprofit organizations associated with the CBC. These organizations claim that their purpose is to provide scholarships, educate the public, and develop new leaders. But the corporate money also funds lavish galas to honor members of the CBC, and top lobbyists from the telecom industry sit on the boards and committees of the CBCF and CBCI.
"This year, CBCF 'honored' Comcast with its 'Distinguished Corporation Award.' Last year, it was Time Warner. Comcast touted its award to Congress earlier this year while seeking approval for its merger with Time Warner."
"In 2011, thousands of ColorOfChange.org members signed petitions and made phone calls asking House Democratic leadership to prevent Congressman Rush from securing a key committee position that would have allowed him to do even more damage to net neutrality. Because of our actions, Rush didn't get the position."
"Nevertheless, Rush and other black representatives have continued to use their status as members of the Congressional Black Caucus — which is supposed to advocate for the interests of Black America — to attack net neutrality. It's unacceptable and dangerous: not only does this kind of influence peddling threaten the Internet as a medium where black voices and ventures have an equal shot; it also undermines the credibility and power of the Congressional Black Caucus, which has historically been a critically important voice for Black America.
"Now is the time to raise our voices again and make it clear that these representatives don't speak for us on this issue. If enough of us speak out, we can make sure that all black representatives know there will be a price to pay for betraying Internet freedom — and that if they fight for net neutrality, they'll have our support. And by speaking out now, we can make sure the FCC knows how important net neutrality is to Black America."