House Dems ask DOJ, FBI to include all agencies in fake comments investigation

House Dems ask DOJ, FBI to include all agencies in fake comments investigation
© Greg Nash

House Democrats are calling on the Justice Department to expand any planned investigation into the hundreds of fake comments that appeared on the FCC’s net neutrality rule to rulemakings from all agencies.

In a letter Wednesday, Reps. Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottDemocrats hit crunch time for passing Biden agenda Biden celebrates anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act Now is the time to end the subminimum wage for people with disabilities MORE (D-Va.) Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneHouse Democrats ramp up probe of FDA approval of Alzheimer's drug Intercept bureau chief: Democrats dropping support of Medicare for All could threaten bill's momentum House Democrats reintroduce road map to carbon neutrality by 2050 MORE (D-N.J), Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsFormer GOP congressional candidate Kimberly Klacik suing Candace Owens for defamation Former Cummings staffer unveils congressional bid McCarthy, GOP face a delicate dance on Jan. 6 committee MORE (D-Md.) asked Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsOvernight Hillicon Valley — Apple issues security update against spyware vulnerability Stanford professors ask DOJ to stop looking for Chinese spies at universities in US Overnight Energy & Environment — Democrats detail clean electricity program MORE and FBI Director Christopher Wray to expand the previous request it received to investigate the potentially illegal submission of fake comments.

In June, Pallone asked Sessions and then-acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe to look into media reports that fake comments using stolen identities had been posted on Federal Communication Commission’s controversial internet rule.

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In December, a group of 11 Democratic House members a letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) requesting an investigation of fake comments on the net neutrality rule. The GAO has agreed to investigate the matter.

Citing a Wall Street Journal investigation, lawmakers said it has come to their attention that other regulatory agencies are facing a scourge of fake comments as well.

"The practice of manipulating agency actions by flooding rulemaking dockets with fake comments is far more widespread than it appeared when you were initially asked to investigate,” they wrote.

“Some Americans' voices are being co-opted in what appears to be a systemic attempt to corrupt federal policy-making."

The House Democrats urged Sessions and Wray to use their “the full investigative powers of the FBI and DOJ to promptly uncover who is behind this conduct and prosecute the parties under applicable federal law."