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White House: No comment on call to investigate MPAA for SOPA bribery

The 31,000-signature petition deals with an enforcement issue, the White House says

The U.S. White House has declined to respond to a petition calling for authorities to investigate the head of the Motion Picture Association of America for bribery related to comments he made following successful online protests against two controversial copyright enforcement bills.

A day after the massive online protests against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA), MPAA Chairman and CEO Chris Dodd seemed to threaten the dozens of lawmakers voicing opposition to the bills. "This industry is watching very carefully who's going to stand up for them when their job is at stake," Dodd told Fox News on Jan. 19. "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."

Those comments prompted a petition at WhiteHouse.gov asking President Barack Obama's administration to investigate Dodd "after he publicly admitted to bribing politicians to pass legislation." The White House has encouraged U.S. residents to start petitions on the site and has promised to respond to any petition that gets more than 25,000 signatures within a month.

More than 31,000 people have signed the bribery petition since it launched on Jan. 21. However, the White House said it will not comment on a petition that requests a legal investigation.

"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," the White House said.

Dodd, a Democratic senator for 30 years, was hired at the MPAA in March 2011. An MPAA spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comments on the White House statement.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is [email protected]


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