The top aide to Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid was quietly lobbying the White House last year against tough net-neutrality rules, according to internal documents released Tuesday.
The emails, made public by the House Oversight Committee, contradict the ultimate position publicly taken by President Obama—and Reid himself.
In an email to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler on May 15, 2014, David Krone, Reid's chief of staff at the time, wrote that he "spoke with the WH [White House] again last night and told them to back off Title II [of the Communications Act]." The section of the 1934 law would give the FCC broad powers and allow it to treat Internet providers more like heavily-regulated phone companies. "Went through once again the problems it creates for us," Krone wrote.
Wheeler also initially favored a more-lenient approach. The same day as Krone's email, the FCC voted to seek public comment on a plan that would have avoided using the expansive regulatory powers under Title II.
That plan provoked a massive public backlash, with many net-neutrality advocates warning it would open the door to Internet providers creating special "fast lanes" for sites that could pay more.