Does Congress defund matter? Dept. of Commerce funds Internet giveaway anyway.

Commerce Dept. gives sole-source contract to Harvard to review Internet giveaway proposal that Congress defunded.

March 31, 2016, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement blasting a $18,690 sole-source contract by the National Institute of Standards and Technology to review a Commerce Department proposal to relinquish the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in spite of being defunded by Congress in the omnibus spending bill from performing the transition:

“How is the Commerce Department giving out a taxpayer-funded no-bid contract to the President and Fellows of Harvard College to review the IANA functions transition that Commerce is prohibited from even performing? Congress has defunded the Internet giveaway three times, but still work continues, with Commerce Department officials traveling all over the world to junkets and conferences to prepare the proposal, which was finalized in Morocco just this month. They’ve already agreed to it. If Congress’ Article One power of the purse is so easily ignored by the executive branch without adverse recourse, Congress has little reason to exist.

The FBO listing even erroneously claimed at first that ‘Congress has mandated the review prior to NTIA transitioning its stewardship of certain Internet technical functions to the global multistakeholder community…’ before amending it after a Senate office pointed out the error, since Congress never actually mandated any review of the transition. In fact, Congress has denied funds to engage in the transition. Thus it lacks funds to even consider the transition, let alone executing various stages of the proposal to prepare the transition.

“Imagine if Congress defunded a house from being built, and so the agency comes in, builds the foundation, builds the walls, puts on the roof and the doors and windows in, gets plumbing and other utilities all lined up, but doesn’t put the doorbell on it, and says it’s not a house. That’s where we are with the Internet giveaway, where Congress mandated that no funds be spent in the transfer, but the proposal was produced and finalized with the Commerce Department’s participation and funding anyway.”


“Who told NTIA it was still okay to work on Internet giveaway after Congress defunded it?” By Rick Manning, March 31, 2016 at

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