Gathering Storm in Virginia Over Net Rules?

Ken Cuccinnelli weighs filing suits against the FCC’s net-neutrality rule changes
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Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has not yet decided whether to file a separate suit against the Federal Communications Commission’s network neutrality rule changes.

In an interview with The Washington Times in June, Cuccinelli, a Republican, called the FCC’s December vote to expand and codify its Internet openness principles the “most egregious of all violations of federal law,” and signaled that in July or August he would “gather support from other attorneys general and private partners for a lawsuit against the Federal Communications Commission.”

While declining to comment on whom, if anyone, Cuccinelli had enlisted to join such a suit, a spokesman did say they have been asking around. “We have been in discussions with other interested parties,” Brian Gottstein, Cuccinelli’s director of communications, told Multichannel News. Gottstein also suggested that the attorney general might file a separate suit. “At the appropriate time, we will make a decision of whether we should proceed as a litigant in our own name or as an amicus,” he said.

There is expected to be no shortage of parties looking to challenge the rules. Verizon already tried to file suit back in January, unhappy with what the FCC called a compromise proposal that industry players suggested was the lesser of two evils.

The rules themselves have yet to be formalized. In fact, the federal Office of Management and Budget has not even finished its vetting of the paperwork requirements of the new rules. “The information collection is still under way,” an OMB representative told B&C last week.

After that, Cuccinelli and others may file suit, but the rules still won’t go into effect until 60 days after that OMB decision, assuming it finds nothing overburdensome in the new paperwork requirements.

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