Last week, with Chairman Bob Goodlatte’s support, Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday hijacked a Democratic bill calling for information from the Justice Department relating to the firing of former FBI director James Comey. They deleted the language from the Democrats’ bill and replaced it with language requesting information on matters related to Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration.
Goodlatte left the committee hearing as Congressman Steve Cohen of Tennessee delivered a blistering attack on the Republicans’ maneuver.
Now it’s being reported that an aide to Republican committee member Matt Gaetz of Florida used a far-right conspiracy website to write the Republican version of the bill.
Devin Murphy, a Republican staffer for Gaetz, actively solicited input and advice from r/The_Donald, a Reddit forum known for harboring discussions and sentiment of overt racism, white supremacism, Islamophobia, and neo-Nazism.
On Thursday night, three Twitter users exposed Murphy for soliciting help writing the legislation from users on the notorious conspiracy theory forum. Murphy posted frequently on the subreddit under the pseudonym of Devinm666, at one point posting an image of his official government identification as proof of his identity.
WIRED reported Friday night that the Twitter users — @regress_ceej, @TrashWeightlift, and @espressoself — discovered the identity of the Gaetz staffer after they suspected Murphy’s frequent activity and insider knowledge of the legislative process.
Since the outing of Murphy, his account has since been deleted. Shortly before midnight Friday, Murphy began deleting all of his past comments.
A review of the proposed legislation sponsored by Gaetz shows that the suggestions and solicited comments by Murphy from r/The_Donald are echoed in much of the proposed amendment.
Murphy also shared Islamaphobic views on the conspiracy subreddit, referring to President Barack Obama as “Barry o’Islama.” In subsequent posts, he refers to the president as a “Kenyan Muslim,” and refugees in Germany as “raping savages.”
r/The_Donald has also provided a breeding ground for a number of unfounded conspiracies. Most recently, it helped promote the Seth Rich murder conspiracy theory, which eventually found its way to Sean Hannity. Before that, r/The_Donald also acted as an incubator for the Pizzagate subreddit, which ultimately led to a man firing a rifle inside of a crowded restaurant. [Murphy] apparently sought to give that same community a platform in Congress.
Goodlatte surely would be shocked and disturbed to learn of this. Wouldn’t he? He’ll take appropriate action. Won’t he?