As MPAA chairman, former Senator Chris Dodd had to address all of the SOPA backlash coming from every corner of the internet. And boy did he. Dodd went on a tear, calling the Wikipedia blackout an “abuse of power,” to which Jimmy Wales said: No, it’s democracy and oh yeah you should be fired. He said that the shelving of SOPA and PIPA would cost Americans jobs and expose us to foreign threats. To which actor Wil Wheaton called Dodd a “tone deaf asshole.”
Dodd continued to talk, drawing the ire of many when he went on Fox News and basically admitted to buying votes in Congress. He said:
Candidly, those who count on quote ‘Hollywood’ for support need to understand that this industry is watching very carefully who’s going to stand up for them when their job is at stake. Don’t ask me to write a check for you when you think your job is at risk and then don’t pay any attention to me when my job is at stake.
This prompted someone to create a petition on The White House’s petition site We The People, asking that Chris Dodd and the MPAA be investigated for bribery. The petitioner described Dodd’s act as “a brazen flouting of the ‘above the law’ status people of Dodd’s position and wealth enjoy.” Apparently, more than a few people agreed because the petition currently has over 31,000 signatures. That means it has reached the threshold to merit an official White House response.
And The White House has responded….kind of. See for yourself:
Thank you for signing this petition. We appreciate your participation in the We the People platform on Whitehouse.gov. However, consistent with the We the People Terms of Participation and our responses to similar petitions in the past, the White House declines to comment on this petition because it requests a specific law enforcement action.
If you head on over to the Terms of Participation, you’ll find this applicable note:
To avoid the appearance of improper influence, the White House may decline to address certain procurement, law enforcement, adjudicatory, or similar matters properly within the jurisdiction of federal departments or agencies, federal courts, or state and local government in its response to a petition.
Now, it would be a lie to call this response a shocker. This is why the internet community has expressed such a lack of faith in this process. If The White House was actually looking into this, it would befit them to not go into details about it – but even if they were, they could respond in a better way than this. At least the petition shows us that there are plenty of people out there watching, and when someone mentions political bribery on national television, it won’t go unnoticed.
[Hat Tip to TechDirt]