Days Before Doing Verizon's Bidding, Ajit Pai Gives A Talk At Verizon
from the drain-the-swamp dept
So, either no one at the FCC gives a shit any more or there’s no one there with the slightest perspective on how this might look, but earlier today, Ajit Pai gave a talk at Verizon. Pai, as you know, used to be Verizon’s deputy General Counsel — though that was a while ago, and just because he used to work there doesn’t necessarily mean he would be regulating in their interest. However, basically every move that Pai has taken since becoming chair of the FCC has been exactly what Verizon has asked for, no matter how ridiculous. Given that, you’d think at least someone in his office would have the sense to say “perhaps talking at Verizon just days before giving them a HUGE gift in destroying net neutrality is… not a good look.”
But, in these “drain the swamp” times, apparently it’s totally fine to give a talk at the company whose bidding you are doing, against the interests of the public, just days before you do it. That it looks corrupt as hell doesn’t matter, because this is Washington DC. Specifically, Pai spoke at the International Institute of Communications’ Telecomunications & Media Forum event that is not only held at Verizon’s DC offices, but heavily sponsored by Verizon:
Not only that, but Pai’s talk was sandwiched between two different Verizon execs, as if to just drive home the giant “fuck you!” Verizon and Pai are saying to the public and what they think of everyone.
It’s almost as if he’s gloating about just how much he’s become Verizon’s pet regulator. Even if there’s nothing officially “wrong” here, this is yet another example of what Larry Lessig has called “soft corruption”, where these actions — even if aboveboard — present such a strong sense of corruption that it makes the public trust our government even less. Ajit Pai may not care that the public doesn’t trust him, but giving a talk at Verizon right now just cements in many people’s minds that he’s looking out for them, and not us.