Barton accuses FCC of distorting Cicconi, McSlarrow, Largent quotes

After a week of strong Republican pushback to the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) net-neutrality plans, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) lodged another allegation at the agency on Friday: distorting the words of major telecom lobbyists.

Barton wrote to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski on Friday, saying his staff distorted the quotes of telecom representatives in materials promoting its net-neutrality proposal, which Genachowski announced on Wednesday.

Barton's claim syncs with a notion waged by many Republicans this week that the FCC has been abusive to telecom companies throughout its net neutrality proceeding, strong-arming them into submitting to a regulatory plan.

Barton cited a document the FCC circulated to reporters listing people who support its net-neutrality plan:

The FCC quotes Jim Cicconi as stating that AT&T is “pleased that the FCC appears to be embracing a compromise solution that is sensitive to the dynamics of investment in a difficult economy and appears to avoid over-regulation.”

Omitted was the following – “Obviously, AT&T’s strong preference would be for the FCC to refrain from any regulation in the Internet space. We feel the industry’s track record, the utter absence of any specific ongoing problem, and the state of the economy all argue for regulatory restraint. We also believe, based on jurisdictional concerns, that the issue should rightly be deferred to the Congress, a view also expressed by a bipartisan majority of that body.”

Barton's letter also listed similar examples regarding the Internet Innovation Alliance's Bruce Mehlman, CTIA's Steve Largent, and NCTA's Kyle McSlarrow.

The FCC declined to comment.