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 ScottA minimum wage is exactly what our economy needs This week: House Democrats voting to hold Barr, Ross in contempt CBO report should spike minimum wage legislation MORE (D-Va.) Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneNRC eyes reducing inspections of nuclear reactors Democratic chair: Medicare negotiating drug prices not moving before August Hillicon Valley: Twitter says Trump 'go back' tweet didn't violate rules | Unions back protests targeting Amazon 'Prime Day' | Mnuchin voices 'serious concerns' about Facebook crypto project | Congress mobilizes on cyber threats to electric grid MORE (D-N.J), Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsLawmakers pay tribute to late Justice Stevens House poised to hold Barr, Ross in contempt Trump's family separation policy has taken US to 'lowest depth possible,' says former immigration lawyer MORE (D-Md.) asked Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTrump's no racist; he's an equal opportunity offender Press: Acosta, latest to walk the plank The Hill's Morning Report — Trump retreats on census citizenship question 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."