November 18, 2010The Honorable Nancy Pelosi235 Cannon House Office BuildingWashington, DC 20515 Dear Speaker Pelosi,My name is James Rucker. I serve as executive director of ColorOfChange.org, an onlinecommunity of more than 800,000 people working to strengthen Black America's politicalvoice for the greater good of all Americans. On behalf of the more than 60,000 membersof our community who have recently spoken up in support of strong net neutrality rules,I'm writing to express deep misgivings about Congressman Bobby Rush's quest to become the ranking member on the House Subcommittee on Communications,Technology, and the Internet.Our members recognize that a free, open, and non-discriminating Internet is a powerfulforce for economic uplift, political organizing and civic participation, particularly for communities that lack broad access to other forms of media. But without network neutrality, the Internet’s amazing equalizing potential would be lost.As the new Republican majority comes to power, we can be assured that they willcontinue their attempts to undermine openness and freedom on the Internet. The HouseCTI Subcommittee is the first line of defense against these plans, a key space in whichthe empty arguments of net neutrality opponents can be challenged and exposed. Thesubcommittee needs a ranking member who will use that platform to vociferously standup for everyday Americans against the uninhibited self-interest of major telecommunications companies. Congressman Rush's record clearly demonstrates that heis not the right person for such a job.Congressman Rush has repeatedly supported the interests of the telecommunicationsindustry over the interests of regular people, and has been a fierce opponent of network neutrality. In 2006, Rush co-sponsored legislation with House Commerce CommitteeChair Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) that would have killed network neutrality. In the lastyear, he has supported numerous efforts to prevent the FCC from instituting network neutrality rules.Further, I have grave doubts that Congressman Rush is capable of being an honest broker on important telecommunications matters. AT&T, America's oldest and largesttelecommunications company, has long been one of the largest donors to CongressmanRush's campaign committee and leadership PAC. In addition, from 2001 to 2004 thecompany donated $1 million to a community center Rush founded in Chicago – an off-the-books donation that could lead one to wonder about the prospect of
quid pro quo
regarding the Congressman and AT&T
President Obama said during his campaign that he would take a backseat to no one on netneutrality. Similarly, you said that if the House takes up legislation to gut net neutrality,“it wouldn’t be a Democratic initiative.” Allowing Congressman Rush to lead the CTIsubcommittee would seem to cut in the opposite direction of those promises.It’s for these reasons that I respectfully, yet strongly, urge you to oppose CongressmanRush’s candidacy for ranking member of the House Subcommittee on Communications,Technology, and the Internet.
2150 Allston Way Suite 360Berkeley, California 94607