[CCWG-ACCT] FW: Politico Morning Tech on Fadi v. Cruz/Secretary Pritzker on Appropriations Freeze

Phil Corwin psc at vlaw-dc.com
Wed Feb 24 17:18:07 UTC 2016

FYI--The news items below are today's Politico Morning Tech.

Sen. Cruz's response to CEO Chehade's answers to the letter sent to him on February 4th by three US Senators is rather predictable. In my personal opinion the CEO had an opportunity to close out this matter by providing focused responses to the letter's nine questions. Instead, he chose to respond in a narrative fashion that did not address several of the questions, so continuation of the dispute was predictable. To date, Sen. Cruz has not been reported to bring up the IANA transition in his campaign for the Republican Presidential nomination. Depending on what occurs in next Tuesday's "Super Tuesday" round of multiple state primaries, he may elect to suspend his campaign and drop out of the race; if and when he does so, he would have a lot more time to spend on Senate business -- within a US Senate that is likely to be even more divided due to it being a Presidential election year, as well as the standoff regarding replacement of deceased Supreme Court Justice Scalia..

As for the report on Secretary Pritzker's remarks at the House Appropriations Committee, another report I saw on this did not characterize her response as ducking the effectiveness of the current appropriations language barring NTIA from facilitating the transition, which remains in effect until September 30th. Rather, in response to rep. Culberson's statement that he was not supportive of the IANA transition, the publication reported:
Pritzker replied that her department hasn't received the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority transition plan yet, but any plan will be led by a multistakeholder group from the Internet community, not by governments. She said her department will conduct a "rigorous review" of the plan and a number of issues will be considered. They include resiliency of the domain name system, needs of the global customers, ensuring an open and free Internet and enhancing the multistakeholder model, she said.

In any event, at the State of the Net Conference held in January 2015, NTIA head Larry Strickling was quite definitive about the effect of the transition freeze, stating (http://www.circleid.com/posts/20150127_ntia_cromnibus_bars_iana_transition_during_current_contract_term/ ):
The act does restrict NTIA from using appropriated dollars to relinquish our stewardship during fiscal year 2015 with respect to Internet domain name system functions. We take that seriously. Accordingly, we will not use appropriated funds to terminate the IANA functions contract with ICANN prior to the contract's current expiration date of September 30, 2015. Nor will we use appropriated dollars to amend the cooperative agreement with Verisign to eliminate NTIA's role in approving changes to the authoritative root zone file prior to September 30. On these points, there is no ambiguity....
I want to reiterate again that there is no hard and fast deadline for this transition. September 2015 has been a target date because that is when the base period of our contract with ICANN expires. But this should not be seen as a deadline. If the community needs more time, we have the ability to extend the IANA functions contract for up to four years. It is up to the community to determine a timeline that works best for stakeholders as they develop a proposal that meets NTIA's conditions, but also works.

The language of the FY 16 transition freeze is identical in effect to the language he commented on above. Now there is some wiggle room in his remarks in that NTIA might claim down the line that the transition requires no use of appropriated funds. Or the White House might intervene and, in his final days in office, President Obama could sign an Executive Order mandating the transition, although it would be subject to the immediate possibility of a lawsuit and court injunction as has occurred with some of his other EOs.

All of this is a reminder that completion of the transition requires affirmative steps by the US Government and is subject to US politics.

CRUZ CALLS OUT CHEHADE ON CHINA - Republican presidential contender Sen. Ted Cruz isn't happy with outgoing ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade's explanation of his Internet governance work in China. The pair exchanged letters earlier this month about Chehade's plans to work with the Chinese government's World Internet Conference advisory board. On Tuesday evening, Cruz issued a statement challenging Chehade's version of events and calling on him to recuse himself from ICANN's work with China. "While Chehade continues to state that his first meeting won't take place until later this year, the Xinhua News Agency, the official press agency of the People's Republic of China, reported on December 17, 2015 that, 'The advisory committee held its first meeting on the sidelines of the second World Internet Conference,'" Cruz said. "Chehade should recuse himself from all ICANN decisions that could impact the Chinese government, which include all negotiations and discussions pertaining to the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority transition."

- ICYMI: PRITZKER SIDESTEPS IANA TRANSITION QUESTION: Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker evaded a volley from the House Appropriations Subcommittee Tuesday about whether the 2015 government spending law blocks the Obama administration from moving forward with its plan to give up oversight of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, Nancy reports. That question has been hotly debated, and subcommittee chairman John Culberson asserted that lawmakers have blocked the move for this year. Pritzker would only say her department would "work very closely" with lawmakers on the issue. "I understand the language that's been put in the appropriations [bills], and so what we're going to do is receive a plan and then we'll talk with you about it," she said.

Philip S. Corwin, Founding Principal
Virtualaw LLC
1155 F Street, NW
Suite 1050
Washington, DC 20004

Twitter: @VlawDC

"Luck is the residue of design" -- Branch Rickey

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