In trying to repeal net neutrality to appease big telecom interests, the Republican-controlled Federal Communications Commission has also shown little interest in normal operating procedures, which has led one of the Democrats on the commission to take the highly unusual step of publicly denouncing the process.
“While I fundamentally disagree with the merits of the FCC’s proposal, what is equally concerning is the lack of integrity to the FCC’s process that has led to this point,” Democratic FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said in an emailed statement Monday.
It is rare for someone on the commission itself to state publicly that the process is unfair (she is, after all, nominally involved in the process itself). Rosenworcel and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman noted in an emailed statement to Motherboard that roughly one million comments on the proposal seem to have fraudulently to have used the names of real people; half a million comments were filed from Russian email addresses, and 50,000 consumer complaints are missing from the record.
"The integrity of our process is at stake," the email said.
Scheniderman’s office is currently investigating the process for anomalies.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has declined to investigate these issues, and, in general, the commission has gone about repealing the rules in a cynical way: The repeal was announced the day before Thanksgiving, for instance, and it’s common knowledge that the vast majority of Americans support net neutrality protections—large corporate internet service providers have been the main impetus behind rolling back the regulations.
Rosenworcel called Monday for the FCC to delay its official vote until official investigations into these anomalies take place.