National Politics

Democrats target Pete Sessions’ district with 10,000 robocalls after Internet privacy vote

House Rules Committee Chairman Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas
House Rules Committee Chairman Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas AP

Democrats are after Rep. Pete Sessions – again.

This week the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee took aim at the powerful chairman of the House Rules Committee with a barrage of automated telephones calls to his district.

The 10,000 robocalls started Wednesday, a day after Sessions, R-Dallas, voted in favor of revoking the FCC’s broadband privacy rule.

“Rep. Sessions just voted to allow internet providers, like Comcast and Verizon, to sell your sensitive personal information to other companies – all without your consent,” a voice on the call says. “Thanks to House Republicans, your internet browsing history, personal health and financial information and even location, can be sold to the highest bidder.”

Telecom industry officials have argued that the rules are unfair and don’t apply to companies like Facebook and Google. Supporters of the law contend that revoking privacy protections is bad for consumers and leaves an oversight gap.

Sessions disputes the characterization that his vote helps internet service providers run wild with sensitive information and customer browser histories.

“As we continue to navigate this new world of technology and the ever-evolving internet ecosystem, it is critical that we take steps to properly and responsibly protect consumers without creating inconsistent policies,” he said in a prepared statement. “However, under this Obama-era rule, internet service providers are arbitrarily held to a different standard than the rest of the internet ecosystem, stifling innovation, growth, and contrary to popular belief – consumer protection.”

Sessions, who represents the 32nd Congressional District, has been targeted by national and state Democrats looking to unseat him in 2018. They confronted him at a raucous town hall meeting March 18. Operatives have been in the district talking to donors and potential candidates.

Democrats are encouraged that Hillary Clinton won Sessions’ district in the 2016 presidential contests, but many analysts believe the district still leans Republican and the incumbent will be difficult to beat.

By Gromer Jeffers Jr., The Dallas Morning News