Following up on 'Booty For Biden' -- What Might Seem Silly Is Actually a Federal Crime

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

 

I’m not referring to Ash Carter’s wife in the headline.  It’s just a good reminder of Creepy Uncle Joe.

Yesterday my colleague Alex Parker gave you a story on “Booty for Biden”, an effort by online media “influencer” and social media “star” Tana Mongeau to drive votes for Joe Biden by promising to provide a nude picture of herself to anyone who showed her proof they had voted early for Biden.  According to the NYPost:

if u send me proof u voted for Biden I’ll send you a nude for free,” Mongeau, 22, tweeted to her 2.4 million Twitter followers in a now-deleted post on Wednesday, Sept. 30, along with her OnlyFans account link, the hashtag #bootyforbiden and three rows of white hearts.

In the story, Alex noted that there is a federal statute that prohibits offers of anything of value in exchange for casting a vote.  Title 18, United States Code Sec. 597 states:

Whoever makes or offers to make an expenditure to any person, either to vote or withhold his vote, or to vote for or against any candidate; and

Whoever solicits, accepts, or receives any such expenditure in consideration of his vote or the withholding of his vote

Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if the violation was willful, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.

Not only is Mongeau at risk for prosecution, but everyone who communicated with her that they had done what she asked and then received the access to the nude photographs is at risk for prosecution.  She claimed in a TikTok video she posted that she received 10,000 responses to her invitation.

This is a federal statute that is enforced, and especially when the thing of value is offered in exchange for a vote for a specific candidate.   If it was not enforced then pernicious efforts to “buy” votes from people who really didn’t care about the outcome of an election would flourish.

The advent of MASS communication with millions of prospective voters by pushing “ENTER” on the keyboard is the “eye of a needle” through which an “elephant” could pass if this matter is not pursued.

That’s why I’m pretty certain this matter is going to be pursued by federal prosecutors wherever Ms. Mongeau is located.

In the days leading up to the 2000 election, in the community where I was working as a federal prosecutor, a LOCAL Taco Bell franchisor began an unadvertised promotion to give away a free taco to any customer who showed a ballot receipt when ordering.  The intentions were honorable enough — the goal was simply to promote civic participation in the election.  The offer was not connected to a vote for a particular candidate, or candidates of a particular party.  When word reached our designated “Election Monitor” AUSA, he DROVE to the franchisor’s office, met an FBI Agent there, and both told the owner that he needed to communicate to all his stores to stop the promotion immediately or he might face federal charges for having offered something of value to customers in exchange for their having voted.

It was a benign exercise by the franchisor — but it violated the letter of the statute. This is one of those “Genies” that just cannot be let out of the bottle.

Ms. Mongeau is reported to have had 2.4 million followers on Twitter, and 5.4 million subscribers to her YouTube channel.  I don’t know if she promoted her “Booty for Biden” on YouTube as well, but she did so on Instagram without repeating the offer.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CFyIdQGBbHC/

Don’t say I didn’t give you at least one picture.

Or two.

Image

It seems to me that this could also create issues for Twitter as well.  She most clearly used the platform to commit a federal crime and to solicit others to commit a federal crime as well.

DOJ will certainly feel pressure to respond to this issue quickly so as to not allow the impression to set in that online personalities with a desire to do something similar can follow her lead without consequence.

It would not surprise me at all to see something happen in this regard in the days ahead.  I will be very surprised if DOJ does nothing.