Bob Quinn by AT&T has been conveniently forced to retire. Quinn was staunchly against net neutrality and internet privacy rules:
But while Stephenson says he takes “full responsibility” for the mistake, it actually seems like AT&T’s top lobbyist Bob Quinn is taking the hit. Stephenson also announced in his message that Quinn “will be retiring,” and that the company’s lobbying shop will now be reporting to AT&T General Counsel David McAtee.
If you’ve been following any of the net neutrality saga in recent years, you’ve probably seen Quinn’s name once or twice. As one of the telecommunications industry’s most vocal and aggressive lobbyists, he’s spent a lot of time railing against things like net neutrality and internet privacy rules. (Quinn has been defending dubious ISP bullshit since the days of AT&T blocking FaceTime over mobile internet, one of the company’s most egregious abuses.) While his title was technically “Senior Executive Vice President of External & Legislative Affairs,” he often acted as AT&T’s chief blogger, posting lengthy screeds about why internet advocates were hyperventilating and distorting the facts.
Ethics watchdog American Oversight, through FOIA, has uncovered a private meeting between FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, AT&T executives Bob Quinn, and John Stankey.
This meeting happened just one month after AT&T hired Michael Cohen to lobby for their merger with Time Warner. Just coincidence, eh?
Something is very rotten here:
American Oversight today demanded that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) disclose details of a February 2017 meeting between FCC Chair Ajit Pai and an AT&T executive linked to President Trump’s private lawyer Michael Cohen.
“A private dinner between Chairman Pai and an AT&T executive who hired Michael Cohen to influence the president doesn’t reflect well on the impartiality of the FCC,” said Austin Evers, Executive Director of American Oversight. “Pai should disclose exactly what was discussed at the dinner and who organized the meeting. Did Michael Cohen set up a dinner where AT&T executives tried to sway a member of the president’s administration on policy that affects the company? We can’t know for sure until Pai tells the whole story. The FCC has some serious explaining to do.”
According to recent news reports, AT&T paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to Essential Consultants, a shell company used by President Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen. Cohen’s contract with AT&T specified he would advise on AT&T’s merger with Time Warner. Trump has voiced strong opposition to the $85 billion deal, and in November the Department of Justice sued to prevent the merger. The deal is currently before a federal judge.
Pai, who runs the federal agency tasked with regulating telecommunications companies, met privately with AT&T executives a month after AT&T hired Cohen’s company. On February 27, 2017, Pai had a private dinner with AT&T executives John Stankey and Bob Quinn in Barcelona. The dinner was recorded in Pai’s calendar, which American Oversight obtained through a FOIA request last year.
Just as Rick Wilson tweeted, none of us should be shocked by this private meeting or anything shady coming from Trump and his cronies.
Donald Trump, his appointees like FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and many others in this administration are costing the American people big time. The Republican Party is enabling this corrupt swamp every single day.
We have to change this in November. Work from now until November so we can gain a Democratic majority in Congress and get this corrupt administration under control.