WASHINGTON -- Sen. Chris Dodd says he still doesn't know what he'll do come January 2011, when, for the first time in 36 years, he will no longer be a member of Congress. But he has ruled out one option.
"No lobbying, no lobbying," Dodd said in a recent interview. That Dodd would forgo a trip through Washington's "revolving door," using his policy and political expertise--and a thick Rolodex--to launch a new career in the influence industry, may come as a surprise.
Hollywood's chief lobbyist lashed out at tech companies for mounting Tuesday night's planned online blackout to protest proposed anti-piracy legislation that has pitted Southern California movie and music distributors against Silicon Valley Internet corporations.
Motion Picture Assn. of America Chief Executive Chris Dodd, the former Senator from Connecticut, accused technology companies such as Google, Mozilla and Wikipedia of resorting to stunts. . . .
"It is an irresponsible response and a disservice to people who rely on them for information and who use their services," Dodd said in a statement. "It is also an abuse of power given the freedoms these companies enjoy in the marketplace today."
flickr image by Be the Change, Inc.
Chris Dodd's emphatic 2010 pledge not to lobby once he finally left the Senate was prompted by widespread speculation that he spent the last two years in office blatantly shilling for corporate interests in order to ensure a prosperous post-Congress career. Particularly during the 2010 financial reform debate -- when it became increasingly apparent that allegations of improper benefits from Countrywide Financial would make his re-election close to impossible -- Dodd served on multiple occasions as chief spokesman for, and defender of, the interests of Wall Street and corporate America. Though sleazy and grotesque, it was therefore entirely unsurprising when it was announced last March that Dodd would "be Hollywood's leading man in Washington, taking the most prestigious job on K Street": Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), "whose perks include a $1.2 million-a-year salary and getting to attend the Academy Awards ceremony."
It is in that capacity that Dodd has become the leading public spokesman and private lobbyist for the truly dangerous PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate and Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House, bills craved by the industry that pays him. These bills, which vest the power in large corporations and the government to seize and shutdown websites with little or no due process in the name of stopping piracy, pose the greatest dangers to Internet freedom of any bill in the last decade, at least. So serious are these threats that they have prompted a rare -- and inspiring -- protest movement from numerous large Internet companies and blogs in the form of an Internet "blackout" today.
In his SOPA advocacy, Dodd has resorted to holding up Chinese censorship as the desired model, mouthing the slogans of despots, and even outright lying. Like virtually all extremist, oppressive bills backed by large industry, SOPA and PIPA have full bipartisan support; among its co-sponsors are Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy and GOP Rep. Lamar Smith, with many Senators from both parties in support and Harry Reid pushing it forward (to its credit, the White House expressed opposition to several of the worst provisions, though has not yet issued a veto threat).
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