Republicans demand net-neutrality documents


"These allegations suggest the FCC's network neutrality proceeding was designed to fulfill a presidential campaign slogan, when it should have been based on an analysis of statutory authority, an economic analysis of the Internet service market, and an examination of the record," the lawmakers wrote.

"If true, it seems the FCC failed to develop an independent conclusion derived from a balanced fact-based record, which is incompatible with proper rule-making."

The lawmakers requested all communications between June 25, 2009, and Dec. 21, 2010, when the rules were passed, between any FCC staffer and the Obama administration as well as all memos, analysis and reports related to the net neutrality.

The lawmakers also seek all communications regarding the Open Internet Order attached as a condition to the FCC's approval of Comcast purchasing a majority stake in NBC Universal. The commission indicated it plans to comply with the request.

“As with previous requests for information from the House Energy & Commerce Committee, we will cooperate fully in our response,“ said an FCC spokesman.

Net-neutrality supporters were more critical of the Republicans' request. The House voted to defund the FCC's rules but the effort fizzled without a vote in the Senate.

"This is a poorly researched, blatantly partisan fishing expedition," said Free Press President Craig Aaron.

"It cites the thoroughly debunked and ridiculous notion pushed by the group Judicial Watch that routine, publicly documented ex parte contacts between Free Press and Commissioner Copps' office were somehow nefarious."

"This examination should not be a partisan witch hunt," said Public Knowledge President Gigi Sohn, arguing the FCC's communications with telecom companies should also be a focus of the probe.

The lawmakers request a response by Aug. 12. The FCC's net-neutrality rules are expected to take effect roughly 90 days after they were delivered to the Office of Management and Budget earlier this month.