The FBI's arrest of social media influencer Douglass Mackey, aka "Ricky Vaughn," over satirical memes he posted on the internet in 2016 has provoked indignation from the public. The case is a dramatic new escalation in the war on the First Amendment.
According to a complaint filed last week by FBI Special Agent Maegan Rees in the Eastern District of New York, Mackey is accused of a "Conspiracy Against Rights" (18 U.S. Code § 241). The affidavit affirms that memes he tweeted to his followers featuring Taylor Swift in a MAGA hat, along with another picture intended to mock the intelligence of Hillary Clinton voters by claiming they could vote by texting a phone number, constitutes an act of criminal and racially motivated voter suppression.
The text of the law in question states that an offender is guilty if two or more persons conspire to use violence or threats to prevent somebody from voting or exercising other constitutional rights. Special Agent Rees does not establish this, nor does she refer to any specific victim who was prevented from voting by Mackey or his "co-conspirators."
Online sleuths rushed to point out the hypocrisy of this witch hunt. Kristina Wong posted Mackey's meme almost verbatim, except aimed at Trump supporters instead. She is not being investigated, much less prosecuted.
Research conducted by National Justice may explain why. According to records obtained in the public domain, Maegan Rees, the lead agent in this act of overreach, is a member of a far left gay activist network who likely obtained her job at the FBI through her close connection to a fellow lesbian at the Department of Justice.
A 2014 Washington Post article on gay nightlife in DC quotes Rees, who was describing her "LGBT" drinking team, as saying "It's something that doesn't happen very often where we have lesbians and gay men coming together in a social space, even though we're fighting the same fight."
The photo above shows Rees (second from the left) participating at one of the group's tournaments on the same team as Assistant US Attorney Angela Buckner (far left). According to Buckner's LinkedIn page, she joined the US Attorney's office in 2015, not long after the photo was taken.
A 2016 feature on the Washington Council of Lawyers' blog describes Buckner as an activist lawyer whose main interests are to change the law to benefit boutique transgender issues and enable illegal immigration, rather than uphold and enforce US laws as they are.
As for Rees, she does not appear to have any qualifications or experience relevant to legitimate law enforcement endeavors. Prior to joining the FBI she worked at the National Council on Teacher Quality, a think-tank that grades teachers across the country that has been accused of having biased motives.
There is no evidence that Buckner and Rees have ever been sexually involved, but it is likely that their relationship helped Rees get her job at the FBI three years ago.
While gay activists have a Constitutional right to advocate for their political ideology and grievances, there are strong ethical concerns to consider when they take over the Department of Justice and the FBI and decide to violently repress their critics.
Mackey's case is a petty, personal and politically selective waste of taxpayer resources, which hits especially hard in New York City, where the FBI's joint task force has failed to arrest suspects in 70% of shooting incidents in one of the most violent years in the city's recent history.