The annual CPAC freakshow reached a new absurdist peak last week when Trump FCC Commissioner was awarded the NRA's Charlton Heston Courage Under Fire Award for his cowardly back-shooting of America's most beloved policy, the sweet and tender Net Neutrality.
The NRA's prize takes the form of a handmade gun, suitable for killing other defenseless creatures.
That turns out to be a problem for Ajit Pai, because the NRA has its own TV network, and that means that Pai was accepting an award with a large cash value from a company whose activities he regulates. In DC, it is only permissible to do this if the company gives you the money before you take your regulatory job, and promises to hire you back after you leave "public" service. That's why Ajit Pai was able to make so many lovely bathtubsful of money from his old employers at Verizon, who will doubtless throw him a welcome home party the day he clears out his FCC office and goes back to the private sector.
Career ethicists at the FCC's Office of General Counsel told Pai he couldn't keep his musket, so he returned it to the NRA.
“As you know, once my staff became aware of what was happening, they asked backstage that the musket not be presented to me to ensure that this could be first discussed with and vetted by career ethics attorneys in the FCC’s Office of General Counsel,” Pai wrote, according to an FCC source who relayed the text of the letters.
“Therefore, upon their counsel, I must respectfully decline the award,” he wrote. “I have also been advised by the FCC’s career ethics attorneys that I would not be able to accept the award upon my departure from government service.”
FCC chairman declines NRA gun award [Margaret Harding McGill/Politico]
(via Ars Technica)