Ajit Pai was appointed to the Federal Communications Commission – the FCC – by President Obama in May 2012, at the recommendation of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Another effort by President Obama to reach out to the Republicans that ended in failure. He was confirmed unanimously by the United States Senate on May 7, 2012, and was sworn in on May 14, 2012, for a five-year term.
In January 2017, the newly-inaugurated President Trump appointed Pai as FCC Chairman. In March 2017, Trump announced that he would renominate Pai to serve another five-year term (remaining Chairman of the FCC). Pai was confirmed by the U.S. Senate for an additional five-year term on October 2, 2017.
As FCC Chair, Pai promised he would be “making the FCC more open and transparent.” That turned out to be a lie, just another lie from Chairman Pai.
Pai, of course, is the champion for the abolition of net neutrality, and crammed that policy change down the throat of America in June of this year. He did so over the objections of hundreds of thousands of Americans who, during the comment period, stated their opposition to the change.
There likely would have still more comments in opposition to abandoning net neutrality, except the FCC server crashed, disabling all public comment for days. Pai blamed hackers, specifically a Distributed Denial of Service or DDoS attack, for the crash of the FCC servers in May 2017. That was a lie. The FCC Inspector General investigated Pai’s claim. A report is out. We only have second-hand accounts of the Inspector General’s conclusions. Pai has not made the report public – “transparency was another Pai lie. But we know in general terms what the report says:
“The Inspector General Report tells us what we knew all along: the FCC’s claim that it was the victim of a DDoS attack during the net neutrality proceeding is bogus,” said FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, the commission’s only Democrat. “What happened instead is obvious—millions of Americans overwhelmed our online system because they wanted to tell us how important Internet openness is to them and how distressed they were to see the FCC roll back their rights. It’s unfortunate that this agency’s energy and resources needed to be spent debunking this implausible claim.”
Pai has also stone-walled Congressional and Freedom of Information Act requests for proof of the alleged DDoS attacks. So much for transparency.
Pai said in 2017 that the numbers and substance of pro-net neutrality comments was “not as important as the substantive comments that are in the record,” and he more recently said that net neutrality supporters are “Chicken Littles.” Chairman Pai might have accidentally expressed his true opinion there: he thinks Americans, voters, cannot assess risks and benefits. Add pretty stark arrogance to Chairman Pi’s charms.
Pai promised that the repeal would create “better, cheaper, and faster Internet access,” and claimed that the old net neutrality rules harmed broadband investment. Yet ISPs told investors that the rules didn’t harm their network investments.1 Another lie.
And then Pai tried to support his investment claimed that broadband deployment projects that were started in 2014-2015, during the Obama administration, were somehow caused by his net neutrality repeal. Another lie.
Finally, Pai was lobbied by the major broadband carriers over Congress’s requirement that broadband internet access be extended to more Americans. The major carriers objected, because it might cost them money. Chairman Pai obliged, by causing the FCC to re-define “broadband” that was ridiculously low. Understand, the FCC “met” it statutory obligation by defining a tortoise as a hare. Only in fables, Chairman Pai. another lie. WC has regularly gotten better and more affordable internet service in the rural jungles of South America than in, say, urban Alaska.
Short of impeachment, there’s no way of getting word of this serial liar and big-broadband toady. He’ll likely hold office until 2022. That leaves it to Congress to legislate net neutrality and rein in the FCC and its Chairman.
- Quoting Bodacious, in a comment to Ars Technica, “The fact that ISPs admitted that NN [net neutrality] didn’t hurt their infrastructure investment is beside the point. If I have a business that relies in part on stealing purses from old ladies, I could reasonably assert that a regulation preventing me from stealing purses would hurt my business. That doesn’t mean I should be allowed to steal purses from old ladies. This is about right and wrong.” ↩