Washington - The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) held its 2012 Digital Patriots Dinner Wednesday evening and honored Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and David Rubenstein, managing director, Carlyle Group.
The dinner, held at the Newseum, here, drew a mix of CE industry leaders, members of Congress, policy experts and media to honor three individuals who, in the words of Gary Shapiro, CEA president/CEO, "hold dear American innovation and who fight for it each day."
Rubenstein of The Carlyle Group received his award for his "countless contributions to innovation, from his service under President Carter, to his legal work for advancing â€˜fair use,' to his stellar patriotism in acquiring and donating to the American people the Magna Carta and Emancipation Proclamation," said Shapiro.
In his remarks, Rubenstein said that a human being's highest calling is to "help other people," and that the word philanthropist in Greek means just that.
He was uncomfortable being called a "patriot" of any kind since Rubenstein believes real patriots "work for government, in public service ... policemen, firemen ... members of our armed services who risk their lives to protect us and our country and do not work for money."
Senator Wyden received his award for "his brave and prescient opposition" of the PROTECT IP Act, the intellectual property bill that would have "stifled Internet entrepreneurship," Shapiro said, along with his support of the Online Protection and Enforcement Digital Trade (OPEN) Act, a bill designed to protect IP owners "without crushing innovation."
Representative Chaffetz received his award for leading "opposition to the anti-innovation Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and advocated for more targeted and effective approaches to online infringement," the CEA exec noted.
The dinner's proceeds benefitted the Ron Brown Scholar Program named for the late Secretary of Commerce. The
provides scholarships and support for bright but economically challenged African-Americans seeking higher education. The program has named 281 Ron Brown Scholars and has a 100 percent success rate of its scholars completing college and being involved in community service. More than 98 percent of its graduated scholars are now gainfully employed or obtaining advanced degrees.