Republican attorneys general in four states are filing a lawsuit to block the transfer of internet domain systems oversight from the U.S. to an international governing body.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt and Nevada Attorney General Paul Laxalt filed a lawsuit on Wednesday night to stop the White House's proposed transition of Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions.
The state officials cite constitutional concerns in their suit against the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. government and the Department of Commerce.
“The Obama Administration’s decision violates the Property Clause of the U.S. Constitution by giving away government property without congressional authorization, the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by chilling speech, and the Administrative Procedure Act by acting beyond statutory authority,” a statement released by Paxton’s office reads.
The attorneys generals claim that the U.S. government is ceding government property, pointing to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) review that “concluded that the transition does not involve a transfer of U.S. government property requiring Congressional approval.”
Paxton also echoed Texas Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzTrump-backed challenger to Cheney decried him as 'racist,' 'xenophobic' in 2016: report FBI investigating alleged assault on Fort Bliss soldier at Afghan refugee camp The Memo: Biden's immigration problems reach crescendo in Del Rio MORE's warnings that the transition could harm free speech on the internet by giving Russia, China and Iran a voice on the international governing body that would oversee internet domain systems.
“Trusting authoritarian regimes to ensure the continued freedom of the internet is lunacy,” Paxton said. “The president does not have the authority to simply give away America’s pioneering role in ensuring that the internet remains a place where free expression can flourish.”
Cruz had previously made an aggressive push in the Senate to block the transition by adding a policy rider against it in the continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government.
Top Republican Sens. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyGrassley announces reelection bid The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats argue price before policy amid scramble Congress facing shutdown, debt crisis with no plan B MORE (Iowa) and John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneSchumer sets Monday showdown on debt ceiling-government funding bill Congress facing shutdown, debt crisis with no plan B GOP warns McConnell won't blink on debt cliff MORE (S.D.) also voiced significant support for delaying the transition beyond its planned Oct. 1 date, but it was ultimately left off the CR, which passed in the Senate on Wednesday.
The complaint also cites security concerns about the U.S. relinquishing control of .mil and .gov domains.
Supporters of the transition, however, say that these domains will not be affected and will still controlled by the U.S. government.