Backpage.com has continually failed to comply with the Senate-issued subpoena about a sex-trafficking investigation by citing its First amendment rights…
On Thursday, the Senate made a rare move with this subpoena. According to the Congressional Research Service, Senate contempt charges are very unusual steps. The last action of this kind was 21 years ago when Bill Clinton was under Senate investigation regarding the Whitewater properties. In fact, since passing its civil enforcement statute in 1979, contempt actions have only occurred on six occasions.
Backpage.com has been accused of letting customers post ads for prostitutes, including children. A Senate subpoena was issued in October 2015. Since that time, Backpage CEO, Carl Ferrer, has refused to answer questions, saying the First Amendment protects his company from doing so. Counsel, Steve Ross, says, “The Senate Subcommittee believes that the First Amendment does not limit its activities with respect to Backpage.com. The company, and its legal counsel, disagrees.”
Leading senators, Rob Portman and Claire McCaskill, for the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations calls the company the most important player in the commercial sex advertising market. With an annual sales total of more than $150 million, $100 million of Backpage.com sales is generated from adult advertising.
Backpage claims to combat human trafficking, saying that it screens posts for illegal activities. But a subcommittee investigation found that Backpage helps to facilitate sex trafficking. For example, the site edits ads before they’re posted, often removing evidence of law-breaking in its “adult” classifieds, the probe determined. Backpage removes certain words from ads that would trip alarm bells, and it permanently deletes metadata from posts’ images that could allow law enforcement to determine who posted an illegal ad, according to the Senate investigation.
To read this entire article regarding these contempt charges, click on the link below.