Torture fan Cliff Stearns, R-FL, is now setting his sites on killing net neutrality in return for campaign contributions from the telecommunications industry.

As a resident of the ridiculously gerrymandered Sixth Congressional District of Florida, I am subjected to being represented in Congress by wingnut Republican Congressman Cliff Stearns even though the Gainesville area is heavily Democratic. I spent some time during the 2008 campaign cycle writing posts for the blog The Case Against Cliff, and two major themes developed from the research for my writing. First, Stearns appears to be a fan of torture, as seen in the photo on the left of this composite, which was taken from his website in May of 2008, when he visited Guantanamo. He clearly was excited by the visit, even dressing up for it and posing in an Abu Ghraib pose. Second, it was clear from my research that Stearns’ primary source of funding is the telecommunications industry. That was true of the 2008 cycle and is also true of the 2010 cycle. It is little wonder then, that this morning NPR went to Cliff Stearns for quotes about killing net neutrality, as he is the ranking member of the House Telecommunications Subcommittee.

For the 2010 election cycle, three of Stearns’ top five contributors were telecommunications-related: Comcast, National Cable & Telecommunications Association and AT&T. Furthermore, The Hill reported back in September that Stearns was using his relationship with NCTA to raise money in an attempt to endear himself to John Boehner, and thereby win a prestigious committee chairmanship when Boehner becomes Speaker:

Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) has stepped up his campaign to lead the House Energy and Commerce Committee should the GOP win the House this November, but some Republicans see the late-game effort as too little too late.

Stearns presented House Minority Leader John Boehner (Ohio) with $300,000 at a fund-raising event on Tuesday night. Half of the money came from Stearns’ political action committee; the other half was raised at the dinner.

The fundraising event, hosted by the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA), had a suggested contribution of $5,000.

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At Tuesday’s dinner, Stearns accompanied his fundraising dollars with a complimentary speech about Boehner, who gets five votes on the steering committee, more influence than any other member.

Here is NPR’s story on Republicans’ efforts to kill net neutrality and how Cliff Stearns is poised to deliver the death blow:


What a surprise: the NPR story details Comcast getting caught blocking transfer of some files and, you will recall, they were at the top of the list of contributors to Stearns, who is duly carrying out their wishes.