The chairman of the House Oversight Committee told CNBC on Thursday that President Barack Obama has reversed his stance on transparency and disclosure in government regulation.
As a senator, Obama called on the Federal Communications Commission to make public rules on media ownership on which it planned to vote, said Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah. But as a president, Obama had not helped Congress as some members sought information from FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler ahead of a vote on enforcing net neutrality.
"When Senator Obama was a senator, he argued this very thing. Now he's the president and I hear nothing out of the White House helping us on this. Nothing," Chaffetz said in a "Squawk on the Street" interview.
In a letter to Wheeler, Chaffetz cited a note from Obama to then-FCC Commissioner Michael Powell in which Obama wrote, "Congress and the public have the right to review any specific proposal and decide whether or not it constitutes sound policy."
Chaffetz criticized Wheeler for refusing to testify before a public hearing that sought details on rules that would change the way the FCC regulates Internet service providers.
"That causes concern. Nobody knows what they're voting on. Here we are less than an hour away and nobody's even seen it yet," he said ahead of the FCC's vote to approve the net neutrality regulations.
As expected Thursday, the agency voted 3-2 along party lines to enforce net neutrality by classifying Internet providers as utilities under Title II of the 1934 Communications Act. Net neutrality is the policy of treating all Internet traffic equally, rather than blocking or imposing "tolls" on access to higher grades of service.
Enshrining net neutrality in FCC rules gives the agency the ability to regulate the providers like telephone line operators. Among other things, the FCC will be able to prevent providers from blocking legal websites, slowing down traffic to specific sites or allowing faster access to other services, such as Netflix or Amazon Instant Video.
Bringing Internet providers under the banner of Title II would change the Internet "from top to bottom," Chaffetz said.
"I have deep concerns that treating it as utility is the right way to go. You get Washington, D.C., bureaucrats meddling with the Internet, I think that's going to stifle innovation and investment," he said, echoing a common concern that the rules will prevent companies such as Verizon and Comcast from spending on broadband infrastructure.
Columbia Law School professor Timothy Wu, who coined the term net neutrality in 2003, told CNBC's "Squawk Box" that service providers are largely working under the auspices of net neutrality now, and enforcing it as an FCC rule would not significantly impact investment.
Disclosure: Comcast is the owner of NBCUniversal, the parent company of CNBC and CNBC.com.