Rep. Bobby Rush. Friend of new media or foe?

James Rucker, executive director of Color of Change, which has 800,000 online members, wrote to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, asking her to oppose the candidacy of Bobby Rush (D-Ill.). Rush is about to become the ranking member on the House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet. Wired reported that Rucker said, "Congressman Rush has repeatedly supported the interests of the telecommunications industry over the interests of regular people, and has been a fierce opponent of network neutrality." Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers shouldn't pick favorites on the Web or discriminate against rival content. Net-neutrality supporters like Color of Change argue that without regulation, the nation's telecoms will unfairly discriminate against content, warping an open platform that has allowed services such as Google, Netflix and Pandora to thrive.

AT&T, America's oldest and largest telecommunications company, has been one of the largest donors to Rep. Rush’s campaign committee and leadership PAC. Rucker also expressed concern about $1 million donated to a community center Rush founded in Chicago between 2001 and 2004 — what he calls "an off-the-books donation [from AT&T] that could lead one to wonder about the prospect of quid pro quo regarding the congressman and AT&T." According to the article, AT&T is Rush's second-largest career contributor, which is also true for the leading Republican candidate to run the committee, Fred Upton (R-Mich.). Rush's other top donors include the National Cable and Telecommunications Association ($43,499) and Verizon ($42,000), according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Yikes! We'd say special interests would be an appropriate descriptor. If all of this is true, Pelosi and other Democrats are looking at a major problem.

Read more at Wired.