Democrat leaders declare Senate GOP CR dead on arrival

Sept. 22, 2016, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement in response to reports that the Senate Republican continuing resolution, which failed to include language that would block the transition of U.S. oversight of the Internet’s domain name system, and has been declared dead on arrival by Democrat leaders, with Senate Appropriations Committee Ranking Member stating “We Democrats cannot vote for that substitute and urge others to vote against it”:

“Senate Democrats have declared the Republican continuing resolution, which surrenders U.S. oversight of the Internet to foreign powers and multinational corporations, dead on arrival. House Speaker Ryan needs to write a real continuing resolution that protects Internet freedom as the Senate version apparently has failed to not only fund Republican priorities, but even garner Democrat votes. The McConnell CR, if it somehow manages to pass, should be dead on arrival in the House. This is the last chance to stop the Internet surrender and protect digital freedom of Americans from censorship from abroad. If the Senate fails, the House must be the one to act. There is too much at stake.”

Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at 703-383-0880 ext. 106 or at media@limitgov.org to arrange an interview with ALG experts including ALG President Rick Manning.

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Have Republican leaders surrendered the Internet?

Sept. 22, 2016, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement blasting Republican leaders in both houses of Congress for reportedly failing to include language in the continuing resolution that would block the transition of U.S. oversight of the Internet’s domain name system:

“It is being reported that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan have surrendered U.S. oversight of the Internet’s domain name system in negotiations with the Democrats to fund the government. If true, it is now clear that Harry Reid never actually left the majority leader’s office and continues to call all the shots on what gets funded. Because of this tragic failure of leadership, multinational corporations and foreign powers will now dominate Internet governance for the rest of time in an unaccountable monopoly, and one day, it will be used to censor Internet content. And there will be nothing the U.S. can do about it.

“It is truly ironic that an issue which unifies the GOP, can be tossed aside because the minority in the Senate threatens to shut down the government.  If reports are true, the ultimate conclusion is that the GOP wields far more power when the Democrats control the Senate and they are forced to unify around conservative principles for political campaign purposes.  The current Majority in Name Only is hardly worth defending when the Democrats and the corporatists win every battle.

“On the House side, if the Speaker allows the transition to occur when the Obama Administration clearly ignored the previous defunds of the giveaway, then his entire call to restore Article One powers are not worth the paper they were printed on.  Should the Senate pass a deal that allows the giveaway, the only recourse is for the House of Representatives to simply say no. A vote for the continuing resolution is a vote to surrender the Internet to Google, Facebook, China, Russia, the United Nations and who knows who else. We will mourn the day we gave this away, and Republicans will have been the ones who rubberstamped it.”

“The good news is that the negotiations in the Senate are reportedly not complete and this course is not irreversible.  I pray that the reports being leaked are erroneous as the very freedoms that have made the Internet successful are at stake.”

Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at 703-383-0880 ext. 106 or at media@limitgov.org to arrange an interview with ALG experts including ALG President Rick Manning.

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ALG praises Trump opposition to Internet surrender

Sept. 21, 2016, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement praising Donald Trump for opposing the transition of the U.S. oversight over the domain name system to the international community:

“Donald Trump understands the importance of a free and open Internet and has proven that today by praising those Republicans in Congress for standing up against Democrats who are trying to play politics with Americans’ First Amendment freedoms. Mr. Trump’s weighing in on this issue while Congress wrangles over final details of the continuing resolution is particularly important as it demonstrates the solidarity of Republicans against Obama’s ill-conceived to surrender of the Internet. We urge Republicans to hold firm and stop the Internet giveaway by forcing the Obama administration to renew the vendor contract with ICANN for a two-year period. This would allow a Trump administration to do a full review on whether the transition should occur and whether ICANN should even continue as the U.S. government’s vendor in administering the Internet’s naming and numbering functions.”

Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at 703-383-0880 ext. 106 or at media@limitgov.org to arrange an interview with ALG experts including ALG President Rick Manning.

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Stopping Internet giveaway more important than quorum on Export Import Bank

Sept. 21, 2016, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement in response to a Washington Post report that the Senate is close to a deal on the continuing resolution that would include blocking the transition of U.S. oversight of the Internet’s domain name system but that “Democrats have been unwilling to accept that addition unless language is also included that would free the Export-Import Bank to approve more deals”:

“If the Export Import Bank’s quorum becomes the reason why Congress could not block the Internet giveaway, the American people will never forgive the members of the Senate who thought pausing the bank for a few weeks or months pending another appointment to the bank’s board was more important.

“Continuing U.S. oversight of the Internet’s domain name system protects the First Amendment rights of everyone who uses the Internet and prevents the creation of a global monopoly that one day could censor the Internet absent U.S. governance. The odious Export Import Bank on the other hand has been around for 80 years and its charter was recently reauthorized by Congress. Regardless of the wisdom of that decision — we opposed it — but it was done anyway.

“If Congress wishes to revisit the charter, it should address the bank’s authorization to exist in a separate piece of legislation. The continuing resolution is the only vehicle available to stop the surrender of U.S. oversight of the Internet, and as such it must take precedence over short-term philosophical battles over the bank. If Congress fails to act to stop the Internet giveaway by September 30, U.S. oversight of the Internet and its First Amendment protections it affords will never be recovered. The Export Import Bank issue will likely be determined by the outcome of the November election. This isn’t even a choice. If anyone allows a temporary quorum issue on the Export Import Bank to become an excuse to surrender the Internet, those responsible will forever wear that albatross around their necks.”

Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at 703-383-0880 ext. 106 or at media@limitgov.org to arrange an interview with ALG experts including ALG President Rick Manning.

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Dick Durbin threatens government shutdown over ‘obscure and irrelevant’ Internet giveaway

Sept. 16, 2016, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement blasting a statement by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) threatening a government shutdown if Congress does not allow the Internet giveaway to go forward, where he said, “Can… Republicans dream up an any more obscure and irrelevant issue to stop the business of the American government? … I couldn’t believe it when they told me this could stop the CR”:

“If the Internet giveaway is such an ‘obscure and irrelevant’ issue then why do Durbin and Senate Democrats care about it? Are they saying they will or will not vote for the continuing resolution over stopping the Internet giveaway? They have already voted for funding bills last year and the year before when the Internet giveaway was defunded. Now suddenly we are supposed to believe that Dick Durbin and others of his ilk want to shut down the government over it and yet is ‘obscure and irrelevant.’ Maybe Team Durbin just cares more about their corporate overlords Google, Amazon and Facebook who are pushing for the end of U.S. oversight of the Internet’s domain name system.

“The simple fact that the government has not engaged in any due diligence to make certain that the transfer of Internet governance to its vendor would not unalterably disrupt the basic processes of the Internet due to antitrust litigation should make it clear to members on both sides of the aisle that extending the current contract at least another two years is the only prudent course. I am confident that Senator Durbin and his colleagues on the Democratic side of the aisle don’t want to be forever known as the jokers who broke the Internet due to their petulance and political gamesmanship.”

Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at 703-383-0880 ext. 106 or at media@limitgov.org to arrange an interview with ALG experts including ALG President Rick Manning.

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No lame duck Internet giveaway

Sept. 16, 2016, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement urging Congress to stop the Internet giveaway now and not wait until a lame duck session to attempt to stop the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) from ceding the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN):

“Congress has a very specific choice. Are members going to allow President Obama to give away the Internet to a cabal of multinational corporations, creating an unaccountable global monopoly over Internet functions, or are they going to stick up for the interests of the American people and maintain U.S. oversight over the Internet’s domain name system. Simply kicking this issue into the lame duck session could create the extreme likelihood that these corporate interests will be able to secure the giveaway after the elections when voters will no longer be able to hold their elected leaders accountable.

“Failure to secure U.S. oversight of the Internet’s domain name system past the Obama administration, even if the desire is to somehow win the issue in the omnibus, will understandably fuel perception that the fix is in, and that the outcome has already been rigged. No political benefit to a temporary delay will materialize, because everyone will know the final battle remains on the horizon in December. And the American people will be forced to assume that the reason is because U.S. oversight of the Internet is scheduled to be terminated when it is too late for voters to react. Now is the time to fight and win this issue.”

Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at 703-383-0880 ext. 106 or at media@limitgov.org to arrange an interview with ALG experts including ALG President Rick Manning.

GAO: Congress must act in order to stop the Internet giveaway

Sept. 15, 2016, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement in response to a Government Accountability Office report on the plan by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to transition the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) at the end of the month:

“The GAO report affirms that Congress needs to act in order to stop the Internet giveaway. Although the GAO report did find that NTIA would otherwise have legal authority to transfer the IANA functions to ICANN, it also noted that the currently enacted prohibition against doing so prevents that from occurring. So while many media outlets are reporting that Congress has no say in whether the Internet giveaway should go forward, that is untrue. The fact is, for two fiscal years in a row, Congress has prohibited this transition from occurring. Those prohibitions were signed into law. Congress clearly has a role here in exercising its constitutional power of the purse, to prohibit the use of funds for policies it deems to be contrary to U.S. interests, like surrendering U.S. oversight of the domain name system.

“The fact that GAO notes that absent the prohibition, NTIA could just proceed with the Internet giveaway creates an even greater need for Congress to act than before. And not only to defund the giveaway, but to prohibit it from ever being transferred absent Congressional approval and authorizing Congress to sue in the event this or any future administration ignores Congress. Claim it as government property if that’s what it takes to stop this from ever happening. Now, if the Internet giveaway proceeds, it will be because Congress surrendered its Article One power of the purse and actively ceded oversight over the Internet’s domain name system to foreign powers. If the IANA functions contract with ICANN lapses, it will be because Congress let it lapse, and the American people will know who to blame. There will be no excuse for such a reckless action.”

Attachments:

“NTIA is currently prohibited by statute, through at least September 30, 2016, from using appropriated funds to relinquish its responsibilities regarding the IANA functions including the Internet domain name system.” Government Accountability Office, “Department of Commerce—Property Implications of Proposed Transition of U.S. Government Oversight of Key Internet Technical Functions,” Sept. 12, 2016 at http://www.gao.gov/assets/680/679691.pdf

Section 539(a), Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 at https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/2029/text : “None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to relinquish the responsibility of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration … with respect to Internet domain name system functions, including responsibility with respect to the authoritative root zone file and the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority functions.”

Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at 703-383-0880 ext. 106 or at media@limitgov.org to arrange an interview with ALG experts including ALG President Rick Manning.

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ICANN argued for antitrust exemption in 2012, misleads WSJ readers

Sept. 13, 2016, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement in response to a letter to the editor in the Wall Street Journal Sept. 11 by Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) general counsel John Jeffrey where he claims “Icann isn’t and never has been exempted from antitrust laws… No ruling in Icann’s favor has ever cited an antitrust exemption as the rationale”:

“In 2012, ICANN argued explicitly in federal court that by virtue of their government contract with NTIA, they were not subject to antitrust liability. It’s right on their website. In 2013, the federal district court judge agreed that even if ICANN were a monopoly, antitrust would not apply because of its government contract. That’s called an exemption, an exception to the rule, however you want to define it. Yet somehow ICANN general counsel John Jeffrey in one of the great legal contortions of all time wants to pretend the government contract does not presently shield ICANN from antitrust when clearly it does. ICANN has argued that it does. Why is this controversial?

“The problem is that after the government lets the IANA functions contract lapse, exposing ICANN to this liability that heretofore was only ever been contemplated, as early as 1998 in the Clinton white paper, which Jeffrey ironically quotes.

“Jeffrey must think Congress is stupid as in his arrogance he ignores previously stated Congressional concerns about the antitrust liability facing ICANN post-contract. Making matters worse, the Obama administration apparently performed no antitrust analysis during the entire period of the transition beginning in 2014, with no responsive documents to our Freedom of Information Act request for all legal and policy analysis of antitrust concerns. NTIA even ignored a CCWG stress test of post transition problems in work stream 2 that contemplated a potential antitrust lawsuit as disrupting ICANN’s ability to govern the domain name system. This is one of the biggest dangers inherent in the Internet giveaway and NTIA, ICANN and the multistakeholders have barely paid it lip service.”

Attachments:

ICANN explicitly argued in federal district court that it “obtained the sole authority to delegate TLDs and select registries through ‘its agreements  with the U.S. government.’ …  Put simply, ICANN did not conduct its operations   to unlawfully acquire the authority to designate TLDs and select registries; thus, this authority does not support name.space’s monopoly claim because the Sherman Act does not punish firms whose monopoly position has been ‘thrust upon’ them.” https://www.icann.org/en/system/files/files/memo-support-icann-motion-to-dismiss-30nov12-en.pdf

The federal district court agreed that “ICANN’s power to control which TLDs will be accepted into the DNS and the entities that will act as registries for those TLDs was delegated to it by the United States Department of Commerce.  As a result, whatever monopoly power ICANN may possess was ‘thrust upon’ it as the result of ‘historic accident’ rather than the result of ‘willful acquisition.’… Because whatever monopoly power ICANN possesses was given to it by the United States Department of Commerce and not the result of the ‘willful acquisition’ of monopoly power, the Court concludes that no amendment could cure the deficiencies in Plaintiff’s monopolization claim brought pursuant to Section 2 of the Sherman Act.  That claim is therefore dismissed with prejudice.” https://www.icann.org/en/system/files/files/order-granting-icann-motion-to-dismiss-04mar13-en.pdf

Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at 703-383-0880 ext. 106 or at media@limitgov.org to arrange an interview with ALG experts including ALG President Rick Manning.

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House, Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees urge Obama to reconsider Internet giveaway

Sept. 8, 2016, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today praised Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte and House Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton for a letter sent to Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker urging the Obama administration to reconsider transitioning the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) at the end of the month:

“The actions today by Chairmen Thune, Grassley, Upton and Goodlatte are a momentous turning point in the fight to preserve the free and open Internet. Given the outstanding legal questions to do with the Internet giveaway, including the future status of ICANN’s antitrust immunity and whether NTIA even has the authority to pursue the transfer, the Obama administration has but one option, and that is to extend the contract with ICANN another two years. We praise the House and Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees for their diligent work on these issues, and they deserve the thanks of each and every American who uses the Internet to obtain news and information.

“However, absent Congressional action before the current contract with ICANN expires at the end of the month, NTIA will surely complete the transition of the IANA functions managing the Internet’s domain name system, and today’s announcement will be rendered meaningless. Congress must not only defund the transition, as it has the past two fiscal years, but also affirmatively require NTIA to extend the contract with ICANN at least another two years and include provision for Congress to immediately sue in federal court to prevent the Obama administration from proceeding with the transfer in defiance of the law.”

Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at 703-383-0880 ext. 106 or at media@limitgov.org to arrange an interview with ALG experts including ALG President Rick Manning.

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The lame duck should be a dead duck

Sept. 8, 2016, Fairfax, Va.–Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement in response to reports Congress is once again considering a 3-month continuing resolution:

“The last thing the American people should want is a Congress without any political pressure on it to make last-minute deals with President Obama, cementing his legacy permanently and tying the hands of the future president. House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should do a full-year funding bill, fulfilling the return to regular order they promised. The lame duck should be a dead duck.”

Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at 703-383-0880 ext. 106 or at media@limitgov.org to arrange an interview with ALG experts including ALG President Rick Manning.

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