Tony Romm at POLITICO has the scoop on a flurry of anti-net neutrality emails from constituents targeting members of Congress that might not be from constituents at all:
A majority of emails to lawmakers purporting to be from average constituents who oppose the Obama administration’s net neutrality rules “do not appear to have a valid in-district address,” according to the company that manages the technology for some House members.
The emails have identical wording to those organized by a group called American Commitment, which is led by Phil Kerpen, a former top aide at the Koch brothers-backed Americans for Prosperity.
On Monday, American Commitment boasted that it helped direct more than 1.6 million messages earlier this month from more than half a million voters to members of the House and Senate. Some of the notes encouraged lawmakers to defund the FCC’s new rules requiring Internet providers to treat all Web traffic equally.
The flood of email traffic seemed to raise some lawmakers’ eyebrows, including Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier of California, whose office soon determined some of the messages had come from constituents who didn’t recall sending them. And she pointed to a memo sent to members’ staff last week by Lockheed Martin, which manages the technology behind some lawmakers’ “contact me” Web pages. Lockheed said it had “some concerns regarding the messages,” including the fact that “a vast majority of the emails do not appear to have a valid in-district address.” In some cases, Lockheed also questioned the “legitimacy of the email address contact associated with the incoming message[s].”
“The idea that an outside group could use consumer data to impersonate constituents suggests an attempt to hijack the important feedback members of Congress need to truly represent their districts,” Speier said in a statement, without naming a culprit.
Read the full article on Politico HERE.