White House won't say if it will investigate MPAA boss for fraud

The White House says it can't comment on a petition to investigate former senator-turned MPAA boss Chris Dodd for fraud over the remarks he made in which he implied that his industry's campaign contributions were bribes in exchange for specific legislation. The White House says it "declines to comment on this petition because it requests a specific law enforcement action."


  1. Can’t say I’m surprised, but I am disappointed.  This was a great opportunity to win some points with the anti-greed, anti-corruption voters and they just dodged it.

  2. Color me not surprised at all…
    Color me that much sadder that even in the face of massive public outcry, they still don’t worry about looking corrupt and bought.

  3. hahahah really? You believe Obama will backstab his friends? He’s appointed them to powerful positions and you think he’s going to round up one of them and do something about it?

    He let all the GOP go over Iraq no way he’s going after Dodd, you guys are crazy.

      1. I think A666 may be referring to the appointment of several former MPAA and RIAA lobbyist/lawyers to postion in the Justice Department and White House legal team. 

        While not necessarily a quid pro quo, it does give the appearance of impropriety between the White House and Big Media.

  4. Am I missing some sort of legal reason for them to NOT being doing this?

    The response is almost like you just asked a judge to arrest somebody, and he says that’s not my job.

    1. Mainly because the Attorney General is the appropriate target of such a petition.

      In the US, the Department of Justice is firewalled off from direct control of the Executive as a result of the Saturday Night Massacre during Watergate. Even the Attorney General has to hand off investigations involving elected officials to a special office as required by the Independent Counsel Act… from 1978 to 1999 it was the Office of the Independent Counsel, and since 1999 the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Special Counsel.

      They could have pointed that out, of course, but they can assume that this is common knowledge, “cannot comment on ongoing investigations” being probably the most overused phrase in political thriller fiction. A public comment on the part of the White House can result in a mistrial, at best, and be its own crime, at worst. Ironically, for instance, if they had been informed that the Justice Department was investigating, it would be a federal crime to reveal that by commenting on the petition. Had the investigation gone so far as to empanel a grand jury, it would be a federal crime to reveal that.

      The House and Senate ethics committees are better targets for political pressure on this matter, and the US and California Attorneys General for legal action.

      1. A public comment on the part of the White House can result in a mistrial, at best, and be its own crime, at worst.

        Yes. For example, when President Obama — Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces — asserted that Bradley Manning had “broke the law” even before his military tribunal had begun, he was censured by … oh wait.

          1. (re: Michael Curran) i believe that the law under which Dodd could feasibly be charged, or most feasibly be charged, relates to his former position as an elected official. so its a bit of a gray area, but one way or the other  fairly different from the Manning case.

          2. Though I think Dodd is violating ethics rules by lobbying within the conflict period, the elected officials to whom I’m referring are the current members of Congress who were the recipients of his targeted donation bundling.

  5. I love how they keep changing the rules on that thing.  On the other hand, it’s not like it was ever anything but an empty gesture.

  6. Change I can believe in.  :-(  Seriously, he’s set up a “give us direct questions via petition” mechanism three times, and he laughs off every single highly voted one.  It seems his goal is now to expose the fact that the opponent of any politician is not politicians of the other party… it’s the people… maybe he’s trying to wake people up to that.  There’s the bright side.

    1. or a petition to change the policy, citing the previous positions, and stating that a mechanism to only address the concerns you want to defeats the point

  7. I’m not really surprised. Investigations are the purview of the justice department, and the justice department is not democratically administered.

    Public opinion does not tell the justice department what to do. They follow whatever laws are on the books. The public has to tell the legislative to make laws, and then the justice department will give a f***.

    I’m actually glad it works this way. In situations where there is democratic involvement in law enforcement (for example: the public election of sherriffs), the net result doesn’t appear terribly positive.

  8. Oh you pesky internet people with your accountability. If only we had a way to control its content and basically shut down the internet…

  9. When I originally saw this petition I thought the site was an interesting development.

    When I got this response, I realized that any petition that actually makes the threshold for them to take action will probably get a similar response, and the site itself is simply a place to direct individuals who want to complain to the white house.

    This petition was not directing the white house to CHARGE him with breaking the law, but to INVESTIGATE him.

  10. I suspect the reason they can’t comment has more to do with the petition being specific than its requesting a law enforcement action. After seeing the responses to a few of the petitions that have been answered, one notices a pattern of giving a safe, dumbed-down, boilerplate explanation of the administration’s current policy.
    They can’t respond to a specific petition, because they couldn’t obfuscate their answer, i.e. “no,” with platitudes or tangential statistics or self-congratulation. So they’re just going to not say anything.
    What interests me is how they will answer the second most popular petition on the site: Actually take these petitions seriously instead of just using them as an excuse to pretend you are listening ( https://wwws.whitehouse.gov/petitions#!/petition/actually-take-these-petitions-seriously-instead-just-using-them-excuse-pretend-you-are-listening/grQ9mNkN ) How do you craft bullshit that artfully dismisses people who are specifically calling you out on your bullshit? Does the administration even have a poopsmith in their employ who is up to the job?

  11. If you really want action on this, you have to play political jujitsu.

    Right now, the republicans are desperate to find a corruption scandal with which to paint the democrats during this election cycle. That’s why there are so many heavy-handed attempts to turn Solyndra into Whitewater.

    It’s long been a stereotype that “Hollywood” supports democrats, so play on that by giving this to Darryl Issa, majority leader of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, gift-wrapped to embarass the Administration. Hell, Ari Emmanuel, Rahm’s brother, is one of the most powerful agents in Hollywood. Chris Dodd was an early supporter of Obama over Clinton in 2008, and had a highly publicized “uncomfortable conversation” with Clinton, who was furious at Dodd’s endorsement of Obama.

    It’s unfair, and it’s dirty, but it’s the kind of pressure that could first pull republicans to the anti-SOPA side for the opportunity to scandalize the administration, then democrats to compensate for the impression of undue influence.

  12. Not surprised in the least. Disapointed that there was so… Nothing of a comment on the whole matter, but not even a proper brush off just a door slam in the face?

    OK. Fine.Next steps. Obvious the political system does not want to be of much use without stooping to their level, which would end up corrupting any effort to change it into just more of the same.Alternitives? Viable not tinfoil nutty alternitives would be nice

  13. Taken from whitehouse.gov….

    President Obama “Michelle and I extend our thanks to Senator Dodd for his service to our
    Nation and offer our best wishes for the future to him and his family.”

    VP Biden “Senator Dodd is one of my best friends in life… … I believe the nation will miss his wisdom, wit and compassion.  I count myself lucky because I know he’s not going too far and will always be source of advice and counsel.  Jill and I wish Chris and Jackie the best as they move on to their next endeavors and know the future holds only great things for their family.”

    Here we see the political danger of the “We The People” petitions… the people and the whitehouse leadership find themselves at odds.

  14. Former Senator Dodd’s and the MPAA/RIAA’s money is more important than the opinion of 29,000+ voters. Now you know. If he wanted to give a safe agreeable answer like “we have referred these concerns to the appropriate department” he could have done so and that would be entirely proper. It would also guarantee no more *AA funds for the Obama campaign.

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