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 ScottNYC teacher suing DeVos over student loan forgiveness program House panel delays vote on surprise medical bills legislation Ten notable Democrats who do not favor impeachment MORE (D-Va.) Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneHouse reaches deal on continuing resolution, vote expected Thursday Democrats hold first hearing in push for clean energy by 2050 EXCLUSIVE: Swing-state voters oppose 'surprise' medical bill legislation, Trump pollster warns MORE (D-N.J), Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsFederal agency to resume processing some deferred-action requests for migrants Overnight Defense: Trump says he has 'many options' on Iran | Hostage negotiator chosen for national security adviser | Senate Dems block funding bill | Documents show Pentagon spent at least 4K at Trump's Scotland resort Top Oversight Democrat demands immigration brass testify MORE (D-Md.) asked Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTrump reignites court fight with Ninth Circuit pick Democrats press Nadler to hold Lewandowski in contempt Pelosi: Lewandowski should have been held in contempt 'right then and there' 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.


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."