It’s widely known by now that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is a self-admitted computer “illiterate” who has “never felt the particular need to e-mail.” But less examined is the fact that he served as chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation from 1997 to 2001, and again from 2003 to 2005. A new Salon article by ThinkProgress’s Amanda Terkel looks at his lackluster record. Some highlights:
— In the mid-90s, McCain fought against Education Rate (E-Rate), a program designed to provide discounts to schools and libraries to connect to the Internet. When running for president in 2000, however, McCain took credit for the legislation, saying it was a “good program.”
– McCain has sided with the telecom industry in the network neutrality debate, voting against legislation by Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) in 2006 to preserve an open Internet. “When you control the pipe you should be able to get profit from your investment,” he said in 2007.
– In 1998 and 1999, McCain wrote at least 15 letters to the FCC, urging members to take action on issues that had potentially major consequences for his campaign donors. One merger McCain pushed for in 1999 benefited a client of his campaign manager, Rick Davis.
Former FCC chairman Reed Hundt told Salon, “Basically, John is a technological troglodyte, and proud of it.”