DHS Chair Johnson Seeks Info on White House and Title II

Add Senate DHS and Government Affairs Committee chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) to those seeking more info from FCC chairman Tom Wheeler on the White House's role in the Title II net neutrality order circulated last week.  

Citing a Wall Street Journal story about the efforts of White House staffers to build a case for Title II reclassification and the President's subsequent public call on the FCC to accomplish that, Johnson said he wanted to "better understand" whether the White House inappropriately influenced that decision.  

Johnson pointed out that Wheeler's initial proposal was not to reclassify, and that in announcing the decision to do so Wheeler had said his view had "evolved" because Wheeler was concerned that applying a "commercially reasonable" standard under Sec. 706 authority could be construed as reasonable for business, not consumers. But Johnson said he was concerned that it was instead White House pressure that led to that "evolution" and that the White House staffers effort was in effect a parallel FCC.

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John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.