On January 26, 2021–six days after Joe Biden was inaugurated– eight FBI and other law enforcement agents showed up at Douglass Mackey’s home and arrested him on felony charges with a ten-year maximum sentence. His crime: posting a Twitter meme, which mocked Hillary Clinton supporters he posted almost five years earlier. Mackey had run the pro-Trump twitter account @RickyVaughn99. The government claimed his satirical posts joking about “texting to vote” constituted a conspiracy on "social media to spread disinformation relevant to the impending 2016 Presidential Election." Specifically, the government was concerned that "disinformation spread by these individuals often took the form of 'memes.'"
Despite living in Florida, Mackey was prosecuted in the Eastern District of New York before two liberal judges and was convicted. He was sentenced to seven months in federal prison on October 18, and ordered to report federal prison on January 8, 2024. He will appeal the case. Reversing this conviction is essential not just to protect his own freedom, but to prevent politically motivated suppression of free speech for all Americans. Mackey was charged under 18 USC 241, known as the Ku Klux Klan Act, which was passed to stop violent deprivations of civil rights in the aftermath of the Civil War. The Biden Justice Department is now using this against other political enemies.
Most notably, Special Counsel Jack Smith has is using this statute against President Donald Trump for his “disinformation” around the 2020 election, with most legal experts citing Mackey’s case as the trial balloon. The Justice Department has also used it to prosecute pro-life activists.
Mackey is appealing this case the U.S. Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, if necessary, on First Amendment–and other–grounds. To help reverse this injustice and ensure that it cannot be used as a precedent to further suppress free speech, please contribute.
Media Coverage and Commentary
Below is a summary of links that provide more granular details on the Douglas Mackey Case.
The Ricky Vaughn Witch Hunt - Pedro Gonzalez, American Conservative
The Justice Department's Ridiculous Voter 'Disinformation' Prosecution - Andrew McCarthy, National Review
Are Douglass Mackey's Memes Illegal? - Professor Eugene Volokh, Tablet Mag
Will Biden and Harris Criminalize Memes? - Josh Hammer, American Mind
If you are concerned about this case and its impact on our free speech, please contribute. Contributions are tax deductible through the American Cause a registered 501(c)3 non-profit foundation. Check and Cash Donations can be made out to “American Cause—Meme Defense—10321 Hunt Farm Ln, Oakton, VA 22124.