FC: DOJ MS comments include porn, spam, rants, little of substance

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Thu Feb 07 2002 - 10:13:19 PST

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    I've put the whole DOJ filing at:
    The 60-day public comment period began on November 28, 2001, and ended on 
    January 28, 2002.1  During that period, the United States received over 
    30,000 public comments.2  Based on those comments, the United States 
    provides the following summary and categorization:
    * Approximately 1,250 comments are unrelated in substance to United States 
    v. Microsoft or the RPFJ (though they were sent to the address for public 
    comments and may or may not mention the RPFJ in their "subject" line).
    o A small number of these submissions are simply advertisements or, in at 
    least one case, pornography.  The United States proposes not to publish 
    such submissions or to provide them as part of its filing to the Court.
    o The remainder of these unrelated comments address only the proposed 
    settlement of the private, class-action litigation against Microsoft, and 
    not the RPFJ.
    * Roughly 2,800 comments are "form" letters or emails - essentially 
    identical text submitted by different persons.
    * Approximately 19,500 comments express an overall view of the RPFJ but do 
    not contain any further discussion of it.  These comments do not, for 
    example, attempt to analyze the substance of the RPFJ, do not address any 
    of its specific provisions, and do not describe any particular strengths or 
    shortcomings of it.
    * Approximately 2,900 of the comments can be characterized as containing a 
    degree of detailed substance concerning the RPFJ.  These substantive 
    comments range from brief, one- or two-page discussions of some aspect of 
    the RPFJ to 100- or more-page, detailed discussions of numerous of its 
    provisions or alternatives.  The essence of many of these substantive 
    comments overlaps with other comments; that is, numerous comments address 
    at least some of the same issues or raise similar arguments.
    * Of the above substantive comments, approximately 45 can be characterized 
    as "major" comments based on their length and the detail with which they 
    analyze significant issues relating to the RPFJ.  Once again, there is 
    considerable duplication of issues and arguments among these major comments.
    * Of the total comments received, roughly 7,500 are in favor or urge entry 
    of the RPFJ, roughly 15,000 are opposed, and roughly 7,000 do not directly 
    express a view in favor or against entry.  For example, a significant 
    number of comments contain opinions concerning Microsoft generally, e.g., 
    "I hate Microsoft," or concerning this antitrust case generally, e.g., 
    "This case should never have been brought," but do not state whether they 
    support or oppose entry of the RPFJ.
    Date: Thu, 07 Feb 2002 09:48:08 -0800
    From: "Jeffrey St. Clair" <sitkaat_private>
    To: CP List <counterpunch-listat_private>,
             Declan McCullagh <declanat_private>, Dave Marsh <marsh6at_private>
    Subject: Ashcroft's Microsoft Payola
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    X-UIDL: b69102436bfd14f906b6d73cf5434ae1
    Ashcroft role in Microsoft case raises ethics issue
    Donations: He withdrew from Enron probe, but not antitrust
    suit Greg Gordon and Les Blumenthal; News Tribune
    Washington, D.C. bureau
    WASHINGTON - Attorney General John Ashcroft withdrew from
    criminal investigations into the collapse of Enron Corp.,
    which gave more than $60,000 to his political committees
    during a failed 2000 Senate campaign.
    But Ashcroft has stayed involved in a bigger case - the
    government's antitrust suit against Microsoft Corp. - even
    though the computer software giant, its officers and
    lobbyists also were substantial donors.
    Microsoft, its political action committee, founder Bill
    Gates and other top corporate officers donated $22,750 to
    Ashcroft's political committees from 1997-2000. Lobbying
    firms that represented Microsoft gave another $33,000. In
    addition, Microsoft donated more than $700,000 to a
    Republican committee that helped bankroll a $1 million
    advertising blitz on Ashcroft's behalf.
    These connections underscore a potential problem for the
    former Missouri senator: Ashcroft is the first attorney
    general to have left Congress for the nation's top law
    enforcement job in a quarter-century - a period in which
    congressional fund raising has escalated sharply.
    Legal ethics experts say Ashcroft's acceptance of nearly $9
    million in senatorial campaign donations just before joining
    the cabinet is, at minimum, creating awkward appearances and
    could raise questions about his independence.
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