search
Sections List
American Journal News

On eve of internet censorship vote, powerful AG uncovers explosive corruption scandal

Raising grave new concerns about the process by which Donald Trump’s FCC is moving ahead to overturn net neutrality rules that protect consumer choice on the internet, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced Wednesday that millions of fake comments had been filed with the FCC in an effort to mimic grassroots support for internet […]

By Eric Boehlert - December 13, 2017
Share
Eric Schneiderman
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman

Raising grave new concerns about the process by which Donald Trump’s FCC is moving ahead to overturn net neutrality rules that protect consumer choice on the internet, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced Wednesday that millions of fake comments had been filed with the FCC in an effort to mimic grassroots support for internet censorship.

The FCC’s vote on net neutrality is scheduled for Thursday, but Schneiderman is calling on the commission to delay it’s final decision until it can be determined who’s responsible for the massive scheme.

“Millions of fake comments have corrupted the FCC public process – including two million that stole the identities of real people, a crime under New York law,” Schneiderman announced Wednesday. “Moving forward with this vote would make a mockery of our public comment process and reward those who perpetrated this fraud to advance their own hidden agenda. The FCC must postpone this vote and work with us to get to the bottom of what happened.”

Meanwhile, Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) became the first Republican member of Congress to call for the FCC to delay its vote to repeal net neutrality.

Last month, FCC commission chairman Ajit Pai, who was installed by Trump earlier this year, announced that the Republican-controlled commission would vote in December to gut the neutrality rules that were put into place during the Obama administration. Such a decision would “give Internet providers broad powers to determine what websites and online services their customers can see and use,” the Washington Post reported.

The scheme, like so mo much of the Republican policy agenda this year, is wildly unpopular with voters.

In fact, a new poll from the University of Maryland shows that “large majorities of Americans — including 3 out of 4 Republicans — oppose the government’s plan to repeal its net neutrality rules for Internet providers,” according to a Post report.

And that’s where the rampant fraud comes in.

When the FCC undertakes a major public policy initiative, they post what is called a ‘Notice of Proposed Rulemaking,’ which urges interested parties — whether its corporations, lobbyists, or just citizens — to file comments and detail their support or opposition of the pending issue before the commission.

But soon after the public comment period opened up, it was discovered that a massive amount of the comments in favor of dismantling net neutrality were fake. Using names and addresses that had been previously stolen, commenters fraudulently posed as real Americans and flooded the debate in an effort to create the impression of grassroots support for gutting net neutrality.

Schneiderman’s office quickly determined that tens of thousands of New Yorkers may have had their identities misused as part of the scheme, and that hundreds of thousands may have been affected nationwide.

Wednesday, Schneiderman updated those figures, announcing that more than two million of the comments, from people from all over the country, were posted using fake identities.

To date, more than five thousand people have confirmed that specific pro-net neutrality comments posted at the FCC were forgeries. One man even confirmed to the New York AG’s office that a comment was made using his dead mother’s identity.

An investigation by the Wall Street Journal published Wednesday confirmed Schneiderman’s findings about the huge volume of fake comments to the FCC regarding net neutrality. “It is a federal felony to knowingly make false, fictitious or fraudulent statements to a U.S. agency,” the Journal noted.

Despite the criminal nature of the comments, Trump’s FCC isn’t interested in investigating the scheme. Over the summer, Schneiderman contacted the FCC and urged it to help it identify who was behind the massive misinformation campaign, but the FCC has refused to cooperate.

Nearly 30 Senate Democrats recently expressed their dismay and have urged the FCC to investigate.

“A free and open Internet is vital to ensuring a level playing field online, and we believe that your proposed action may be based on an incomplete understanding of the public record in this proceeding,” the senators wrote in a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. “In fact, there is good reason to believe that the record may be replete with fake or fraudulent comments, suggesting that your proposal is fundamentally flawed.

The public debate has been corrupted by fake comments, and Trump’s FCC doesn’t even care to find out who do it. Instead, they’re plowing ahead with a vote on a massively unpopular scheme that will affect nearly every American nationwide. Under these circumstances, the result of any such vote will be just as fraudulent as the comments.


Read More
Michigan’s abortion protections aren’t safe under a 2nd Trump presidency, Emhoff says

Michigan’s abortion protections aren’t safe under a 2nd Trump presidency, Emhoff says

By Lucy Valeski, Michigan Advance - June 25, 2024
‘Democracy begins with each of us,’ Biden says at site of D-Day invasion in Normandy

‘Democracy begins with each of us,’ Biden says at site of D-Day invasion in Normandy

By Jennifer Shutt, States Newsroom - June 07, 2024
Biden campaign launches new ad focused on Affordable Care Act

Biden campaign launches new ad focused on Affordable Care Act

By Kim Lyons, Pennsylvania Capital-Star - May 08, 2024
Trump leaves door open to banning medication abortion nationwide

Trump leaves door open to banning medication abortion nationwide

By Jennifer Shutt, States Newsroom - April 30, 2024
Biden on abortion rights: President expects to give speech Tuesday on new Florida 6-week ban

Biden on abortion rights: President expects to give speech Tuesday on new Florida 6-week ban

By Mitch Perry, Florida Phoenix - April 22, 2024
Biden calls for expanded child tax credit, taxes on wealthy in $7.2 trillion budget plan

Biden calls for expanded child tax credit, taxes on wealthy in $7.2 trillion budget plan

By Jennifer Shutt, States Newsroom - March 11, 2024
AJ News
Latest
Big investors are buying up single-family homes. Sen. Sherrod Brown has a plan to stop them.

Big investors are buying up single-family homes. Sen. Sherrod Brown has a plan to stop them.

By Jesse Valentine - July 09, 2024
New Mexico Senate nom Nella Domenici earned up to $1 million renting out Connecticut home

New Mexico Senate nom Nella Domenici earned up to $1 million renting out Connecticut home

By Jesse Valentine - July 08, 2024
GOP’s Mark Robinson blames bad fathers for social ills despite own son’s criminal record

GOP’s Mark Robinson blames bad fathers for social ills despite own son’s criminal record

By Jesse Valentine - July 03, 2024
Kelly Ayotte’s history of backing Medicare cuts could be hurdle in governor’s race

Kelly Ayotte’s history of backing Medicare cuts could be hurdle in governor’s race

By Jesse Valentine - July 02, 2024
Texas Republican Ken Paxton enlisted outside group to gut rights for pregnant workers

Texas Republican Ken Paxton enlisted outside group to gut rights for pregnant workers

By Jesse Valentine - June 24, 2024
Ted Cruz leverages Trump conviction on podcast for own personal gain

Ted Cruz leverages Trump conviction on podcast for own personal gain

By Jesse Valentine - June 11, 2024
Arizona Republican Kari Lake proposes massive cuts to Medicaid and Medicare

Arizona Republican Kari Lake proposes massive cuts to Medicaid and Medicare

By Jesse Valentine - June 10, 2024
Virginia U.S. Senate candidate Hung Cao says workplace diversity is ‘Marxism’

Virginia U.S. Senate candidate Hung Cao says workplace diversity is ‘Marxism’

By Jesse Valentine - June 06, 2024
Republican Bernie Moreno’s rags-to-riches story exposed as a lie

Republican Bernie Moreno’s rags-to-riches story exposed as a lie

By Jesse Valentine - May 24, 2024
What happens to clinics after a state bans abortion? They fight to survive.

What happens to clinics after a state bans abortion? They fight to survive.

By Chabeli Carrazana and Shefali Luthra - May 22, 2024
Former Sen. Kelly Ayotte took job at Caterpillar after tax fraud probe

Former Sen. Kelly Ayotte took job at Caterpillar after tax fraud probe

By Jesse Valentine - May 21, 2024
Alabama OB-GYN residencies dropped over 20% after Dobbs, state abortion ban, says analysis

Alabama OB-GYN residencies dropped over 20% after Dobbs, state abortion ban, says analysis

By Alander Rocha, Alabama Reflector - May 21, 2024
House GOP celebrates National Police Week while pushing to defund local law enforcement

House GOP celebrates National Police Week while pushing to defund local law enforcement

By Jesse Valentine - May 16, 2024
Evolution denier Mark Robinson could reshape North Carolina’s education system

Evolution denier Mark Robinson could reshape North Carolina’s education system

By Jesse Valentine - May 16, 2024
Republican Jay Ashcroft backs anti-abortion clinics that push lies and disinformation

Republican Jay Ashcroft backs anti-abortion clinics that push lies and disinformation

By Jesse Valentine - May 14, 2024
Republican Sam Brown’s assault on teacher unions could backfire

Republican Sam Brown’s assault on teacher unions could backfire

By Jesse Valentine - May 09, 2024
Florida abortion ban puts GOP Rep. Anna Paulina Luna’s anti-choice views in spotlight

Florida abortion ban puts GOP Rep. Anna Paulina Luna’s anti-choice views in spotlight

By Jesse Valentine - May 07, 2024
Trump leaves door open to banning medication abortion nationwide

Trump leaves door open to banning medication abortion nationwide

By Jennifer Shutt, States Newsroom - April 30, 2024
Republican Caroleene Dobson wants Alabama abortion ban to go nationwide

Republican Caroleene Dobson wants Alabama abortion ban to go nationwide

By Jesse Valentine - April 30, 2024
Ohio Gov. DeWine said he didn’t know of millions in FirstEnergy support. Is it plausible?

Ohio Gov. DeWine said he didn’t know of millions in FirstEnergy support. Is it plausible?

By Marty Schladen, Ohio Capital Journal - April 29, 2024
GOP Rep. Zach Nunn suggests laws against hate crime aren’t needed

GOP Rep. Zach Nunn suggests laws against hate crime aren’t needed

By Jesse Valentine - April 15, 2024
GOP Senate candidate Hung Cao blames racial equity for Baltimore bridge tragedy

GOP Senate candidate Hung Cao blames racial equity for Baltimore bridge tragedy

By Jesse Valentine - March 29, 2024
GOP Rep. Jennifer Kiggans donates thousands to far-right extremists

GOP Rep. Jennifer Kiggans donates thousands to far-right extremists

By Jesse Valentine - March 08, 2024
Ohio senate candidate Bernie Moreno: “Absolute pro-life no exceptions.”

Ohio senate candidate Bernie Moreno: “Absolute pro-life no exceptions.”

By Jesse Valentine - March 07, 2024
Anti-China Republicans pocket thousands from Chinese owned conglomerate

Anti-China Republicans pocket thousands from Chinese owned conglomerate

By Jesse Valentine - March 04, 2024
Republican Eric Hovde makes inconsistent statements about family history

Republican Eric Hovde makes inconsistent statements about family history

By Jesse Valentine - February 26, 2024
Republican David McCormick invests millions in website that platforms Holocaust denial

Republican David McCormick invests millions in website that platforms Holocaust denial

By Jesse Valentine - February 09, 2024
Lawmakers will again take up bills expanding, tightening gun laws

Lawmakers will again take up bills expanding, tightening gun laws

By Annmarie Timmins, New Hampshire Bulletin - January 31, 2024
UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

By Ashley Murray, States Newsroom - January 24, 2024
Republicans Sam Brown and Jeff Gunter sling mud in Nevada senate primary

Republicans Sam Brown and Jeff Gunter sling mud in Nevada senate primary

By Jesse Valentine - January 17, 2024
A Young Texas Woman Almost Died Due To The Texas Abortion Bans – Now She’s Battling To Save Other Women

A Young Texas Woman Almost Died Due To The Texas Abortion Bans – Now She’s Battling To Save Other Women

By Bonnie Fuller - January 10, 2024
Health care legislation preview: Maryland advocates want to focus on access, patients in 2024 session

Health care legislation preview: Maryland advocates want to focus on access, patients in 2024 session

By Danielle J. Brown, Maryland Matters - January 08, 2024
How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

By Jesse Valentine - January 05, 2024
NH lawmakers will be taking up major voting bills this year. Here are some to watch for.

NH lawmakers will be taking up major voting bills this year. Here are some to watch for.

By Ethan DeWitt, New Hampshire Bulletin - January 04, 2024
Republican US Senate candidates want to make Trump’s tax cuts permanent 

Republican US Senate candidates want to make Trump’s tax cuts permanent 

By Jesse Valentine - December 22, 2023
Rand Paul went all in on the Kentucky governor’s race. It didn’t work.

Rand Paul went all in on the Kentucky governor’s race. It didn’t work.

By - December 15, 2023
Texas governor and attorney general do little to curb state’s chemical plant crisis

Texas governor and attorney general do little to curb state’s chemical plant crisis

By Jesse Valentine - December 08, 2023
Likely GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde proposed tax hike for poorer workers and retirees

Likely GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde proposed tax hike for poorer workers and retirees

By Jesse Valentine - December 07, 2023
Whitmer signs specific criminal penalties for assaulting health care workers into law

Whitmer signs specific criminal penalties for assaulting health care workers into law

By Anna Liz Nichols, Michigan Advance - December 06, 2023
105 Republicans voted to expel Santos for things Trump has also done

105 Republicans voted to expel Santos for things Trump has also done

By Jesse Valentine - December 05, 2023
For Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another Trump term is another chance to kill Obamacare

For Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another Trump term is another chance to kill Obamacare

By Jesse Valentine - December 04, 2023
Florida Sen. Rick Scott backs Donald Trump in revived push to repeal Obamacare

Florida Sen. Rick Scott backs Donald Trump in revived push to repeal Obamacare

By Jesse Valentine - November 30, 2023
Tate Reeves took donations from power company that hiked customer rates

Tate Reeves took donations from power company that hiked customer rates

By Jesse Valentine - November 06, 2023
Daniel Cameron ran on depoliticizing the Kentucky AG’s office. He made it more political.

Daniel Cameron ran on depoliticizing the Kentucky AG’s office. He made it more political.

By Jesse Valentine - November 03, 2023
Republican operatives sound every alarm on current trajectory of 2023 governor’s race

Republican operatives sound every alarm on current trajectory of 2023 governor’s race

By Adam Ganucheau, Mississippi Today - October 24, 2023
FactCheck: Republican Sheehy revives discredited abortion claim in Senate race

FactCheck: Republican Sheehy revives discredited abortion claim in Senate race

By Matt Volz - July 15, 2024
Lawsuit seeks to overturn Michigan’s ban on conversion therapy for minors

Lawsuit seeks to overturn Michigan’s ban on conversion therapy for minors

By Jon King, Michigan Advance - July 15, 2024
Virginia Republican Jen Kiggans backs effort to stop voting rights expansion

Virginia Republican Jen Kiggans backs effort to stop voting rights expansion

By Jesse Valentine - July 12, 2024
Republican Eric Hovde poured millions into dubious overseas ventures

Republican Eric Hovde poured millions into dubious overseas ventures

By Jesse Valentine - July 12, 2024
 Republican Monique DeSpain boasts about out-of-state support

 Republican Monique DeSpain boasts about out-of-state support

By Jesse Valentine - July 11, 2024
U.S. House candidate Rob Bresnahan donated thousands to controversial, far-right figures

U.S. House candidate Rob Bresnahan donated thousands to controversial, far-right figures

By Jesse Valentine - July 11, 2024