Sen Kyrsten Sinema, the Only Anti-Net Neutrality Democrat, Linked to Super PAC Run by a Comcast Lobbyist

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Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) is the only Senate Democrat not co-sponsoring the Save the Internet Act, a bill to restore net neutrality rules that were enacted by the Federal Communications Commission during the Obama administration and reversed in 2017 by President Trump’s FCC Chair, former Verizon attorney Ajit Pai. Instead, Sen Sinema has formed a working group with Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), who blocked a vote on the Save the Internet Act in June, to craft a new bill on the issue. Sens Sinema and Wicker have both said they oppose the Obama-era rule that treats internet services as a common carrier, allowing the FCC to use broader regulatory authority granted to it under Title II of the Communications Act, and would prefer that it be regulated under Title I of that Act, which limits the FCC’s ability to enforce regulations. Internet service providers (ISPs) take the same position, arguing that Title II classification would lead to lower investment by the industry, something that did not occur while the rules were in effect. 

So why has Sen Sinema bucked her party and taken a telecom industry-friendly position on net neutrality? One possible answer may be her relationship with a “dark money” nonprofit called Center Forward that receives substantial funding from cable and telecom industry trade groups and its affiliated super PAC, Center Forward Committee, which is run by a Comcast lobbyist. Sen Sinema directed a six-figure donation to Center Forward Committee through a centrist PAC that she used to chair just weeks before the group made big independent expenditures to support Sinema’s campaigns. Center Forward is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit with a board composed exclusively of corporate lobbyists that says it “works to end the culture of gridlock in Washington by bringing together moderate centrist allies to find bipartisan solutions.” Center Forward does not have to disclose its donors, but telecom industry groups that lobby against net neutrality have given it substantial and consistent donations.

Kyrsten Sinema, the Only Anti-Net Neutrality Dem, Linked to Super PAC Run by a Comcast Lobbyist