FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 24, 2018 Contact: Josh Tabish, +1-778-990-1218, email@example.com
Late Tuesday Rep. Don Young of Alaska issued a statement announcing he will not sign the Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution discharge petition to help overturn the FCC’s net neutrality repeal. The announcement comes hours after an Anchorage-based business owner went public with news the Congressman had promised to sign the CRA discharge petition during a one-on-one meeting in late June.
The following statement can be attributed to Sarah Roth Gaudette, Fight for the Future’s Executive Director:
“Congressman Young’s statement this evening is outrageous. I was stunned to see him trot out those tired, old ISP talking points, and unapologetically break his promise to sign the net neutrality CRA – a promise he made to an Alaska business owner that travelled nearly 10,000 miles to speak with him face-to-face in DC. Nothing in his statement justifies breaking his promise, and Alaskan Internet users are going to be furious. It’s clear Congressman Young has been bought and paid for by the country’s ISP lobby. Hell has no fury like an Internet scorned, and we’ll make sure any member of Congress who tries to pull a stunt like this pays the price before the November election.”
Fight for the Future is helping organize an emergency protest outside Congressman Young’s Anchorage office tomorrow at 5pm local time. The group is encouraging Alaska small businesses and Internet users to join tomorrow and call his DC office via BattleForTheNet.com.
Founder of Anchorage-based company CustomMousePad.com goes public after silence from Congressman’s office on pledge to help restore net neutrality
ANCHORAGE, AK – Local entrepreneur Jennie Stewart of CustomMousePad.com has decided to go public about a bombshell promise from Republican Congressman Don Young (AK-0) to sign the Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution discharge petition to help restore net neutrality. The Congressman pledged to sign the CRA during a meeting with Stewart on Capitol Hill in June.If he follows through, he would become the second GOP House representative to sign the CRA to overturn the FCC’s repeal.
The promise came during a visit at the Congressman’s DC office during a “Day of Advocacy For Net Neutrality” hostedby a coalition of public interest organizations. Despite productive correspondence between Ms. Stewart and Rep Young’s office following the meeting, the Congressman’s team has since gone quiet and has yet to deliver on their commitment to sign the CRA. His office has not responded to calls from several journalists inquiring about the CRA.
Ms. Stewart then notified digital rights group Fight for the Future, who is today helping her go public with her story.
“The radio silence from Congressman Young’s office has made me pretty anxious. But he promised he would sign the CRA to restore net neutrality protections for Alaska businesses like mine, so I’m confident he’ll follow through,” said Jennie Stewart, founder of Custom Everything Inc. and CustomMousePad.com, “When he first said he’d sign the CRA I was thrilled. It was amazing to hear such a high-ranking member of Congress take such a strong, independent stance on this, and put the needs of his constituents ahead of giants like GCI and AT&T. But I’m afraid his silence means the telecom lobby got to him – and I really hope I’m wrong about that.”
“For Congressman Young, following his pledge to sign the net neutrality CRA is a no-brainer,” said Fight for the Future Executive Director, Sarah Roth-Gaudette, “He has the safest seat in the country, and can afford to stand up to the telecoms on this. Alaska businesses rely on net neutrality to reach customers for everything from sales to telemedicine and education, but they’re paying more money for less Internet than anywhere in the country. They simply cannot afford to be blocked, throttled, or charged new fees by ISPs. We hope Representative Young decides to follow through on his promise before Congress breaks for the August recess so he can be welcomed back to his district as an Internet hero.”
The CRA was recently passed in the Senate with a historic bipartisan vote of 52-47. The discharge petition currently has 175 co-signers including one other Republican. If 215 House reps sign the discharge petition, it will force a vote to restore strong net neutrality rules preventing blocking, throttling, and new fees online.
Grassroots groups and major websites like Tumblr, GitHub, Postmates, and Pornhub are helping drive traffic as part of the launch
THE INTERNET––Today, the net neutrality advocates behind BattleForTheNet.com launched an updated Congressional “scoreboard” showing where every member of Congress stands on the Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to reverse the FCC’s repeal of basic open Internet protections. The updated tool also shows constituents how much money their representatives have taken in campaign contributions from telecom companies, the number of phone calls the office has received about net neutrality, and the number of small businesses in the district that have signed an open letterin support of the CRA.
The scoreboard is a project of BattleForTheNet.com, a net neutrality action site maintained by Fight for the Future, Demand Progress, and Free Press Action Fund. Today’s launch is being amplified by major web platforms like Tumblr, GitHub, Postmates, Private Internet Access VPN, Foursquare, Startpage, Namecheap, and Pornhub.
“Some elected officials are still under the woefully incorrect impression that they can hide from their constituents when it comes to net neutrality, or attempt to fool them by supporting symbolic legislation instead of the CRA,” said Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future, “Any lawmaker who sides with the big ISPs that line their pockets with campaign contributions over the basic Internet freedom of their constituents will learn the hard way. The math isn’t complicated: voters overwhelmingly support net neutrality. We’re going to make sure that every single voter knows if their representative sold them out. There’s nowhere to hide.”
The launch of the new scoreboard comes as pressure on House lawmakers to support the joint resolution to restore net neutrality has reached a boiling point. Last week Rep Mike Coffman (R-CO)became the first Republican member of the House to sign a discharge petition to force a vote on the CRA, putting victory increasingly within reach.
Net neutrality advocates are planning intensified activism starting today through August recess, with more in-district protests like the dozens that happened last week (see photos here), along with online and offline actions led by small businesses, US veterans, and others.
Nearly 70 volunteer-led protests and small business letter delivery events are planned at Congressional offices across the US
On Thursday, July 19th, net neutrality supporters and small business owners will gather outside dozens of congressional offices across the country, calling on lawmakers to sign the discharge petition and support the Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to overrule the FCC’s unpopular repeal of net neutrality. Constituents will rally with signs and banners, and then deliver an open letter signed by thousands of small businesses calling on Congress defend net neutrality.
The protests come amid growing outcry for Congress to act to reverse the FCC’s resoundingly unpopular repeal of net neutrality protections, which officially went into effect on June 11th. Rep Mike Coffman (R-CO) just became the first GOP member of the House of Representatives to support a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution that would reverse the FCC’s decision, creating massive pressure for other members of Congress to follow suit.
Net neutrality rules prevent Big Cable companies like Comcast and Verizon from controlling what we see and do on the Internet with throttling, censorship, and extra fees. These protections ensure free speech online, and are especially essential for small businesses, who can’t afford ISP’s pay-to-play schemes. More than 6,000 small businesses have signed an open letter at BusinessesForNetNeutrality.com, which will be delivered to Congressional staffers during the events on Thursday.
More than 20 organizations that use Salesforce, including Greenpeace, Fight for the Future, and Free Press, have signed an open letter
More than 20 organizations that are Salesforce customers, including Greenpeace, Fight for the Future, Free Press, IfNotNow, Jobs with Justice and OpenMedia, have signed on to an open letter released today calling on CEO Marc Benioff to drop the company’s contract with Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and cut all ties with the US government’s immigration enforcement agencies following widespread reports of human rights abuses.
“We are nonprofits, startups, and businesses that are Salesforce’s customers. The tools that Salesforce provides helps us achieve our mission. However, we are absolutely appalled that Salesforce is providing assistance to government agencies that are violating human rights. We cannot, in good conscience, ignore this issue,” reads the letter.
It continues, “If every company that has any kind of contract with these immigration agencies, immediately cut their contracts, it would make a huge impact and create enormous political pressure for these human rights abuses to end. Mr. Benioff, we know you really personally care about these issues and we implore you to listen to your conscience and show that you really care about immigrant families. As Salesforce customers, we urge you to cut your contract with Customs and Border Protection. We will not be quiet until you do.”
“Marc Benioff needs to realize that he can’t just write a check and tweet some excuses and expect this to go away,” said Jelani Drew of Fight for the Future, who helped coordinate the open letter, “Families are being torn apart. Human rights are being trampled. Salesforce has a contract with one of the agencies committing these atrocities. They have the power to do something about it. They need to decide right now which side of history they want to be on.”
The open letter comes after more than 100,000 people signed petitions calling on Salesforce, Microsoft, and other large tech companies to drop their contracts with ICE and Border Patrol, echoing demands from hundreds of employees at those companies. Protests have taken place at Salesforce HQ in San Francisco, and CEO Marc Benioff has been flooded with tweets calling on him to do the right thing.
Beyond tech companies, public pressure is growing nationwide for institutions to cut their ties with ICE and Border Patrol. Thousands of students spoke out and protested at Northeastern University, and one of the nation’s largest consulting and management firms, McKinsey and Company, already cut their ties, stating that they “will not, under any circumstances, engage in any work, anywhere in the world, that advances or assists policies that are at odds with our values.”
Fight for the Future and other groups plan to continue pushing for all large tech companies to sever their ties with government agencies that violate human rights.