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Lawmakers Want to Curb Those Pesky Robocalls to Your Phone
Democrats in both the House and Senate introduced legislation to restrict calls

Sen. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., introduced a bill in the Senate last week to curb robocalls. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

You probably receive a few of these types of calls per week.

“Hello,” an automated voice will say, often ostensibly from a number with the same area code as you. “This message is to inform you that ...”

Trey Gowdy, Once Championed by the Right, Now a Pariah for FBI Defense
Conservative media turns on House Benghazi investigation chairman

Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., earned the ire of conservatives this week after he defended the FBI’s use of an informant in the investigation into possible ties between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

From former White House officials to longtime radio hosts, conservative media figureheads turned on a Republican lawmaker who won them over for his scathing interrogation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the House’s Benghazi investigation in 2015.

Less than three years later, Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina has become the latest target for many of today’s pre-eminent conservative spokespeople after he defended the FBI on television shows this week for accepting information from someone within President Donald Trump’s campaign in 2016 about possible ties to Russia.

Facebook Hires Ex-GOP Senator To Advise On Anti-Conservative Bias
Democrats and Republicans in Congress have quarreled over existence of such bias

Former Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., is partnering with Facebook to advise on issues over potential anti-conservative bias. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Facebook has brought in a high-profile Washington insider to advise the company on concerns over whether its employees and content-filtering algorithms have an anti-conservative tilt.

Former Arizona GOP Sen. Jon Kyl — now with Capitol Hill lobbying stalwart Covington and Burling — is partnering with the tech giant as lawmakers hammer it for a lack of transparency, not doing enough to combat fake news ahead of the 2016 election, and — if you ask many Republicans — having a built-in bias in its codes and personnel that shuts out conservative voices.

Blackburn, Himes Spar Over Diamond and Silk, Social Media at Judiciary Hearing
Democrats criticize Republicans for pushing ‘hoax’ of anti-conservative bias in social media filtering algorithms

Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., testified before the House Judiciary Committee about censorship on social media platforms. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Reps. Marsha Blackburn and Jim Himes could not be farther away from each other on the issue of social media content algorithms.

Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican running for Senate this November, testified Thursday in front of the House Judiciary Committee that today’s social media titans — Facebook, Google, and Twitter — all deploy algorithms that appear to filter out conservative voices, hurting pro-Donald Trump content creators like the popular YouTubers Diamond and Silk (who also testified on Capitol Hill Thursday).

FCC Rejects Democrats’ Request to Review Sinclair License
Broadcast group made its anchors read a promotional script blasting other outlets’ ‘fake news’

Ajit Pai, Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission, rejected 12 senators’ request to investigate Sinclair Broadcasting group's license after its "fake news" segment. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai declined Thursday to follow through on a request from 12 senators that his bureau review Sinclair Broadcasting group’s license and temporarily block its merger with Tribune Media.

Eleven Democratic senators and independent Sen. Bernie Sanders wrote their request in a letter to Pai Thursday that highlighted the local television media conglomerate’s recent move to force its anchors in dozens of U.S. cities to read a scripted, uniform segment blasting “fake news” and media bias that favors liberals.

Senators Face Off With Zuckerberg in Marathon Hearing
Joint hearing starts off with pop, brings unexpected questions, and then gradually fades

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified during the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee joint hearing Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

“Mr. Zuckerberg, would you be comfortable sharing with us the name of the hotel you stayed in last night?”

Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin asked that of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg nearly two hours into Tuesday afternoon’s headline-grabbing Senate hearing.

Bill Nelson's Big Day
Florida Democrat found himself at the center of the political and policy news Monday

Sen. Bill Nelson was at the center of debates over politics and policy on Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It seemed like Sen. Bill Nelson was everywhere on Monday.

The third-term Democratic senator from Florida will forever be best known for, during his time in the House, orbiting Earth aboard the space shuttle Columbia.

Man Arrested for Threatening to Murder Rep. Scott Taylor
If convicted Wallace Grove Godwin of Virginia Beach faces up to 10 years in prison

Rep. Scott Taylor, R-Va., was the target of a murder threat by one of his constituents. The man was arrested Friday and faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A 69-year-old Virginia Beach resident was arrested Friday for threatening to murder his congressman, GOP Rep. Scott Taylor

Wallace Grove Godwin is being charged with threatening to murder and assault a U.S. official, a crime that carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison if convicted, Tracy Doherty-McCormick, acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Matthew R. Verderosa, the U.S. Capitol Police chief, announced Friday. 

‘It’s Fake News!’ GOP Lawmaker Yells About Mass Shootings Coverage
Rep. Claudia Tenney reams media and Democrats for politicizing mass shootings

New York Rep. Claudia Tenney called media coverage of mass shootings “fake news” at a campaign event Sunday. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Claudia Tenney reached her wit’s end at a campaign stop Sunday while she tried to clarify controversial remarks she made after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, last month.

“It’s fake news!” the New York Republican said about the media coverage of her comments and of mass shootings in general. “I answered your question every which way. It is fake news. Bye.”

Klobuchar Open to Fining Social Media for ‘Bots’
‘I think that would be a great idea,’ Minnesota Democrat says

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., signaled she would consider a potential bill fining social media companies for failing to wipe "bots" from their platforms. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As federal investigators continue to find evidence that Russian nationals interfered in the 2016 U.S. elections, lawmakers have struggled to find ways to combat any repeat efforts in 2018.

One potential solution? Fining social media titans like Facebook and Twitter— where Russians pose as people and groups within the U.S. to promote certain political views and events — whenever they fail to deactivate “bots” on their platforms.