Doug Jones asks FEC to probe ‘deceptive tactics’ in 2017 election won against Roy Moore
Sen. Doug Jones, Alabama Democrat, officially asked the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday to investigate “deceptive tactics” used during the race he narrowly won against Republican opponent Roy Moore.
Mr. Jones requested a formal inquiry from the FEC into the 2017 special election lost by Mr. Moore, a conservative judge endorsed by President Trump, in light of recent news reports revealing attempts by Democratic operatives to covertly influence the race on social media.
“It is imperative to send a clear message that these disinformation tactics will not be tolerated and will be punished to the fullest extent of the law,” Mr. Jones wrote Ellen Weintraub, a Democratic member of the FEC, The New York Times first reported.
“Such deceptive tactics have no place in American politics and must be repudiated by those involved in our political system,” Mr. Jones added, according to the report
The FEC did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
Democratic operatives ran bogus social media accounts during the 2017 special election designed to draw votes away from the Republican candidate, and Mr. Jones previously said he planned to request the FEC conduct an investigation into their tactics after The Times exposed their efforts in a report published last month.
More recently, The Times profiled a separate campaign Monday, “Dry Alabama,” credited to a progressive activist who admittedly created a “false flag” operation that tried to sabotage the Moore campaign by sharing deceptive content on social media that mixed messages touting the Christian conservative withoutlawing alcohol.
“As a conservative Christian, I was unfairly attacked by a high-tech cyber disinformation campaign in the 2017 race for U.S. Senate that violated not only my rights but also the right of every Alabama voter to participate in a fair election,” Mr. Moore responded earlier this week.
A year after Mr. Moore lost the special election by a margin of roughly 1.7 percent, The Times reported last month that operatives funded by Democratic megadonor Reid Hoffman tried to derail the GOP hopeful’s Senate bid through the course of at least two separate projects. On Facebook, operatives posing as conservative Alabamians attempted to muster support for a conservative write-in candidate; on Twitter, meanwhile, the same group “planted the idea that the Moore campaign was amplified on social media by a Russian botnet,” according to an internal report obtained by the newspaper.
There is no evidence that Mr. Jones knew or encouraged any of the efforts, The Times previously reported.
Mr. Hoffman, a LinkedIn co-founder a Microsoft board member, previously disavowed the deceptive social media campaigns.
A former U.S. attorney, Mr. Jones competed against Mr. Moore for the Senate seat previously occupied since 1997 by Jeff Sessions, Alabama Republican and President Trump’s first attorney general.