Lawmaker's letter in support of FCC not drafted by Free Press

It seems haste was to blame for reports that one Democratic congressman used a letter last week drafted by a lobbyist to drum up support for the FCC's plans to regulate Internet companies.

An industry source first notified Hillicon Valley on Friday that Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) had borrowed a "Dear Colleague" template from the public-interest group Free Press, which supports the FCC's plan to apply to broadband providers a series of rules that govern phone companies.

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The source pointed to the document's meta-data -- viewable by clicking "properties" in Microsoft Word -- which showed its author was Ben Scott, the executive director for Free Press.

Free Press did not return a request for comment last week. But Inslee's office told Hillicon Valley on Tuesday that Scott did not, in fact, draft the letter on behalf of the congressman. Rather, as Inslee's staff scrambled to put out something last week in support of the FCC's goals, it consulted old documents and industry talking points for ideas. A staff member ultimately typed the new letter on top of the Word document that Free Press previously sent Inslee -- the date of which was May 7 -- meaning the meta-data still reflected Scott as its author.

"Yep, that’s it, in our haste we typed over a word document with someone else’s meta tag," said communications director Robert Kellar. "There is no plot and we created the letter."

(Updated at 12:37 p.m. with letter's timestamp)

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