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Rush to Judgment

By Amy Hart in Miscellaneous on Apr 27, 2006 3:08PM

The Rebirth of Englewood Community Development Corporation is a not-for-profit organization that was founded by US Congressman Bobby Rush to encourage community and economic development in the Englewood neighborhood. Back in 2003, telecom giant SBC’s foundation* gave a $1 million grant to the organization to help establish the Bobby L. Rush Center for Community Technology, which would allow training and business development for the community.

2006_04_bobbyrush.jpgIt all sounds so great, right? An example of corporate America helping out the community. How sweet. Except that Bobby Rush serves on the House’s Energy and Commerce Committee, which “maintains principal responsibility for legislative oversight relating to telecommunications....” Many consumer watchdog groups say it was a conflict of interest for Rush to accept the grant from a telecommunications company when he is responsible for developing laws affecting the industry.

Just yesterday Rush voted against the “Net Neutrality Bill” that would have ensured big telecom would not gain control of the internet. The bill was voted down 34-22 in committee. Rush says he has done nothing unethical and that the grant and his vote against the bill will even the playing field for communities like Englewood. We say letting corporate America buy their way into a stronger hold over our lines of communication and free speech is bad politics.

*SBC has since been acquired by AT&T.