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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 ScottDeLauro wins Steering Committee vote for Appropriations chair National reading, math tests postponed to 2022 amid coronavirus surge Trump officials approve Georgia plan to remove healthcare.gov as enrollment option MORE (D-Va.) Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneHouse Democrats urge Amazon to investigate, recall 'defective' products Asbestos ban stalls in Congress amid partisan fight Pharma execs say FDA will not lower standards for coronavirus vaccine MORE (D-N.J), Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsHouse Democrats reintroduce bill to reduce lobbyist influence Trump voters and progressives have a lot in common — and Biden can unite them We must act on lowering cost of prescription drugs MORE (D-Md.) asked Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsHarris to resign from Senate seat on Monday Rosenstein: Zero tolerance immigration policy 'never should have been proposed or implemented' Sessions, top DOJ officials knew 'zero tolerance' would separate families, watchdog finds 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."