White House Influence on Net Neutrality

If the statements made to a House committee by the Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler are to be believed, the White House — specifically President Obama — did not give Wheeler specific instructions about Net Neutrality that he had to follow.

Wheeler informed Congressional leaders on Tuesday, March 17, that the Federal Communications Commission reviewed approximately 4 million response comments about the topic after Republicans accused the President and White House officials of having too much influence on the FCC’s decision. Per Wheeler, the President did make several net neutrality recommendations, but his opinions were held in equal standing with the rest of the American public and those of 140 Representatives and Senators who also weighed in on this historic change in how the FCC looks at the Internet.

According to Marcio Alaor BMG, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform was created after Republican Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz made accusations and demanded that the White House and FCC release all documentation pertaining to this decision to him.

Wheeler supported the FCC’s decision by emphasizing that the FCC followed guidelines set by the the Administrative Procedure Act from nearly 70 years ago to obtain public opinion about this topic and then make a decision.

It is unknown if the Freedom of Information act changes proposed by the White House regarding blocking the release of White House email this week relate to this issue in any way.