Brendan Carr Omitted Critical Facts in His Testimony to Congress: He Worked for AT&T, Verizon, Et Al.

07/30/2017 12:48 am ET Updated Jul 31, 2017

In his written testimony to Congress, Brendan Carr, who has been nominated to be the third Republican FCC Commissioner, omitted the most important fact: He worked for AT&T, Verizon, Centurylink, as well as the CTIA, the wireless association, and the USTA, the telephone association. Moreover, much of this work has direct ties to his current work with FCC Chairman Ajit Pai (a former Verizon attorney). Together they have amassed a string of corporate-monopoly friendly, harmful consumer regulations that have passed or are percolating. In the end, Carr and Pai clearly show that they are still working for the industry, not the public interest.

On top of this, there are even holes in Carr’s work timeline, as told by his own LinkedIn bio. His resume shows he clerked for a judge in the 2008-2009 timeframe, while his bio shows him also working from 2005-2012 for Wiley Rein and the telcos and their associations.

All of this should be a deal breaker. The Senate should not confirm Brendan Carr’s nomination as FCC Commissioner.

FACT 1: Carr Never Mentioned He Worked for AT&T Et Al. in His Testimony to Congress

An excerpt:

That’s it? Law firm… broad experience… telecom issues. Later… clerkship…. “sparked my interest in public service”.

No where does Carr tell Congress that he worked for AT&T, Verizon, Centurylink, the USTA, the CTIA – i.e., all of the large incumbent phone companies that control both the telecommunications copper and fiber wires in most of America but also the wires to the cell sites, etc., and they also include the two largest wireless companies, and the two largest telecom associations.

And no where does Carr explain that the work he was doing for his telco clients is directly related to what the FCC is attempting to do now— from strip-mining consumer protections and privacy, and going after Net Neutrality, to erasing the basic accounting rules to hide massive cross-subsidies that were caused by the FCC’s own negligence. In fact, Carr has most likely been working on all of these proceedings as part of FCC Chair Pai’s staff for the last few years.

FACT 2: The Timeline Presented has been Tampered with and Manipulated.

And even the timeline of his story is off. According to the above, he claims he left the law firm and started working for a judge, where he got his ‘public interest’ bug.

The documents show that he was still working at Wiley Rein and for these companies after he worked for a judge on the US Court of Appeals. It just makes the story sound better to leave out that a lot of the work done was against the public interest and for his telco clients.

FACT 3: He Worked for the Phone Companies and Their Associations.

In a previous article we laid out that Carr had worked at Wiley Rein and his clients were Verizon, AT&T, Centurylink, CTIA, the wireless association and the USTA, the telco lobby/association.

And his name appears on the actual documents.

FACT 4: The Phone Company Work and the Current FCC Work are Directly Tied to “Ideology” and Not the Public Interest.

We found that Carr’s work was directly related to the current FCC proceedings, in multiple ways.

  • Wiley Rein defended the CTIA, the wireless association, against the City of San Francisco and won claiming that this was a ‘First Amendment’ win—for CTIA.

And, at this moment, there is a proceeding where the FCC is asking — Why shouldn’t the FCC preempt all those pesky city and state laws pertaining to wireless with a federal law, (which only helps AT&T, Verizon and the CTIA)?

  • In another case, (the excerpt featured above) Carr is on a Verizon filing about ‘forbearance’ – i.e., to stop the FCC from enforcing any accounting regulations –and the FCC is now attempting to finish the job by erasing all of those pesky ‘accounting rules’. As we pointed out, these rules were created 16 years ago and were never audited since their inception by the FCC in any significant way.

The Verizon filing says – We don’t need these cost accounting rules. And in 2017, right out of the gate, the FCC has decided to oblige and give gifts to Verizon and AT&T– erase the accounting rules which will hide all of the financials and won’t require the phone companies to justify anything—and Carr was part of the team for Verizon in 2007 and is now part of the team to push this at the FCC, it would seem.

In fact, we now know that Carr’s fingers are all over these current plans; he worked through 2012 for the telcos and in February 2014 he started working for the Chairman Ajit Pai.

FACT 5: Defending the First Amendment Issues for the Wireless Industry, Not San Francisco.

When Carr joined Pai’s staff, the Chairman stated that Carr had worked on a First Amendment case and he would be an asset. Unfortunately, this victory was for the wireless industry association, the CTIA, and the First Amendment was used against the city of San Francisco. And Carr was one of the lawyers for CTIA.

“Wiley Rein, which has represented CTIA-The Wireless Association® (CTIA) in this matter since 2010, had argued on the industry’s behalf.
“John Walls, Vice President, Public Affairs at CTIA, said of the ruling, “Today the federal district court in the Northern District of California held that the requirements of San Francisco’s cell phone warning regime, as currently drafted, violate the First Amendment. The court properly determined that the City cannot constitutionally require retailers to hang posters in their stores or paste stickers on cell phone display materials in order to convey the City’s selective messages about cell phone safety and cell phone use. The court also found that the ‘fact sheet’ created by the City was both misleading and alarmist and that the City could not require retailers to distribute this ‘fact sheet’ without significant changes.”
“Wiley Rein’s Andrew McBride, Josh Turner, Megan Brown and Brendan Carr are among the counsel for CTIA in this matter.”

Defending the industry against the wishes of a city is going to come up again and again as the FCC is planning on ‘preempting’ state and city zoning and laws.

FACT 6: Carr Creates an Unholy Voting Block: “The Gang of 3”.

We also pointed out that Carr would create a voting block with Republican Commissioner Michael O’Reilly, “The Gang of 3”, and these Republicans are hell bent at removing consumer protections, shutting down Net neutrality—and helping the companies.

And thus, having these three Republicans taking over the FCC vote—should not be allowed to happen.

FACT 7: Carr Rewrites His Work Timeline

The prepared testimony of Brendan Carr rewrites his work timeline. Besides omitting that he worked for years for AT&T, Verizon, et al., the timeline has been manipulated to make it look like Carr found enlightenment—and it was in ‘public service’.

“Later, I accepted a clerkship with a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which helped spark my interest in public service.”

FACT 8: The Dates Don't Line Up

From LinkedIn

His LinkedIn timeline shows that he was working for Wiley Rein from 2005-2012, but the testimony states he worked there then ‘later’ went to work for a judge where he saw the light of public service.

The Wiley Rein job extends during the "law clerk" timeframe 2008-2009, and there are filings with his name on them from 2011 and 2012.

I.e.; Carr either left for a year to work with the judge, or was ‘lent out’ by the law firm but still kept his job, or left then returned; I do not assume he made up some of this –just attempted to finesse it for spin vs accuracy and hiding the basic facts.

  • Wiley Rein LLP
  • Attorney, Communications, Appellate, and Litigation Groups
  • Dates Employed Sep 2005 – Jun 2012
  • Employment Duration 6 yrs 10 mos

“Conducted trial and appellate court litigation for a variety of telecom clients, including appeals of FCC orders. Provided strategic advice and legal counsel to wireless, wireline, satellite, and association clients in connection with FCC rulemaking and adjudicatory proceedings. Advised clients regarding the likely legal classification of novel service offerings. Assisted clients in obtaining FCC approval of proposed mergers.”

Brendan Carr’s Law Clerk experience, 2008-2009

  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • Law Clerk
  • Dates Employed Aug 2008 – Jul 2009
  • Employment Duration 1 yr
  • Law Clerk to the Honorable Dennis W. Shedd

FACT 9: Carr Is Promising a String of Clichés, Taken from the Industry.

Carr’s prepared statement:

“We have a tremendous opportunity in the technology and communications space to create jobs, spur investment, and grow the economy for the benefit all Americans. If confirmed, I would work to ensure that the FCC’s policies do just that.”

And yet, these are almost the exact words of Comcast and Charter, as quoted by CED Magazine, from one of the other industry segments, cable, that can expect the benefits from relaxed regulations. And these were said before Carr’s testimony.

Comcast EVP and Chief Diversity Officer David Cohen:

“Brendan’s vast knowledge of the communications industry, combined with his strong legal credentials, will allow him to hit the ground running as the Commission pursues policies to stimulate investment and job creation in the communications marketplace to benefit consumers and drive economic growth,”

Charter added in its own statement:

“Given his previous experience as the FCC's General Counsel and in the telecom sector, Carr brings years of valuable know-how to this leadership role,” “We look forward to working with him and his colleagues on the Commission to continue to advance policies that encourage businesses to innovate, invest in broadband infrastructure, create more jobs, and grow the economy in communities across the U.S."

Conclusion

The headline of a Los Angeles Times article shows that at least one Senator may care about the coziness of the Carr and Pai. The article details how Senator Bill Nelson (D-Florida) asked some pointed questions of Carr during his appearance in front of the Senate Commerce Committee.

“Democratic senator questions independence of FCC nominee who worked for the agency's chairman”

It would appear, however, that the Committee didn’t do its homework by asking the deeper questions about the ties with the telcos or getting the specifics on Carr’s work experience and timeline.

As we pointed out, we believe that this FCC is captured by the industry. And now the industry is just expanding it control, while harming our rights, and costing us more money, at slower speeds, with less choice or privacy or control.

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