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January 29, 2021

The FBI’s Disgraceful Prosecution of a Joke

A man faces 10 years in prison for posting a humorous voting message on Twitter.

Ten years in prison for posting memes. That’s what a Florida man faces after an outrageous FBI investigation has pinned him with supposedly violating 18 U.S. Code section 241, which says no one may “conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person … in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States.” In this case, don’t interfere with voting. Joe Biden’s Social Justice Department accuses the man of a “disinformation campaign” to do just that.

“Douglass Mackey, known online as Ricky Vaughn, was arrested Wednesday in West Palm Beach and is facing a staggering 10 years in prison,” reports The Daily Wire. “At the helm of [a] pro-Trump [Twitter] account, Mackey is accused of essentially tricking people into not voting in the 2016 election by suggesting folks text in their vote to avoid long lines.”

Ah, there’s the catch — this happened in 2016, and the dupes were Hillary Clinton supporters. “Avoid the Line,” said Mackey’s post. “Vote from Home. Text ‘Hillary’ to 59925. Vote for Hillary and be a part of history.”

Gee, the integrity of our elections is really jeopardized with that one.

These jokes are a dime a dozen on social media and, frankly, if you fall for it, you shouldn’t be voting in the first place. You should be attending remedial civics class instead. Nearly 5,000 people evidently responded, though the FBI’s sleuths didn’t bother to note if these chumps did or didn’t actually vote for Hillary Clinton in the election. And, as Andrew McCarthy notes, “In New York, where the case against Mackey is filed, Hillary Clinton defeated Donald Trump by about 1.8 million votes.”

Fox News host Tucker Carlson wryly observed, “Well, it looks like this is the part of the revolution where they start throwing their political opponents in jail. That was fast. It was just a week ago they were telling us about ‘unity.’ Remember that? Well, what we didn’t know at the time is that everyone with power should unite against the rest of the country. ‘Unity’ meant oligarchy.”

This is yet another embarrassment for the FBI. While it is still true that the vast majority of the bureau’s agents are upstanding Patriots who seek to uphold the Rule of Law, there are still evidently some partisan actors who’d rather abuse power for political ends.

This is also the same bureau that spent years chasing the “Russia collusion” rabbit. You might even call it a disinformation campaign. Except that rabbit didn’t just lead down a hole or even to a few shifted votes but to the attempted coup against a duly elected president. And when agents weren’t busy doing that, they were investigating “nooses” at NASCAR tracks. Now, evidently the focus is right-wing meme sharers on Twitter.

Mackey is not technically charged with voter fraud. But as for actual voter fraud, the entire Democrat Party foisted that on the nation in 2020. Where’s the FBI?

Finally, there are dire implications for free speech in what would otherwise be a humorous story. This isn’t just Big Tech companies removing politically inconvenient posts. It’s a citizen being prosecuted by the federal government for posting political speech online. Forget Section 241. Have these FBI jackboots ever heard of the First Amendment?

And if this is what we can expect from Joe Biden’s Social Justice Department — after only two weeks in office — grassroots Patriots had better strap in for a very bumpy four years.

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