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 ScottLack of child care poses major hurdle as businesses reopen Unions worry Congress is one step closer to a liability shield Victim advocacy groups, Democratic lawmakers slam new campus sexual assault policies MORE (D-Va.) Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneFederal watchdog finds cybersecurity vulnerabilities in FCC systems Overnight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — Deal on surprise medical bills faces obstacles | House GOP unveils rival drug pricing measure ahead of Pelosi vote | Justices to hear case over billions in ObamaCare payments Obstacles remain for deal on surprise medical bills MORE (D-N.J), Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsDemocrat Kweisi Mfume wins House primary in Maryland Key races to watch in Tuesday's primaries The Postal Service collapse that isn't happening MORE (D-Md.) asked Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsSessions accepts 'Fox News Sunday' invitation to debate, Tuberville declines What you need to know about FBI official Dana Boente's retirement Rosenstein steps back into GOP crosshairs 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."