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Sens. Murkowski, Collins and Romney have clear track records of acting against child exploitation, whether online or in person.
Before we get to Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s misuse of a U.S. Supreme Court nomination to tar the records of three Republican senators, let’s establish their track records against child exploitation.
In 2019, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, co-sponsored and successfully passed a bill called the End Network Abuse Act. The legislation focused on rooting out child pornography within Defense Department computer systems. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation hailed the move as a victory against child exploitation.
In 2018, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, co-sponsored a law called Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse. A response to the Olympic gymnastic sex abuse scandal, the measure reinforced the duty to report suspected abuse and increased the scope of penalties for child pornogrphy.
When Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, ran for president in 2012, he vowed he would ramp up prosecutions and impose new barriers to all pornography. It was not a stance new for him.
"If I am president, I will work to make sure that every computer sold into the home has an easy to engage pornography filter so that every parent can protect their child from unwanted filth," Romney said at a 2007 Values Voter summit.
Even without this context, we and many other observers knew Greene was disconnected from reality when she tweeted April 4 that Sens. "Murkowski, Collins, and Romney are pro-pedophile."
The three Republican senators had joined Democrats in a procedural vote to move forward with the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. Greene’s office said Jackson has a history of "showing leniency towards pedophiles."
In a career that spans a quarter of a century, Jackson has held many positions. She clerked for three federal judges, worked in private practice, and before she joined the U.S. Court of Appeals, she spent eight years as a federal district judge.
When Jackson appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee, several Republicans accused her of being "soft" on child pornography offenders, because she often issued sentences that were below what federal sentencing guidelines suggested and what prosecutors were seeking. We, along with other news organizations, found those accusations misleading.
The federal guidelines in child pornography cases are outdated, and judges disregard them about 70% of the time. Judges also issue sentences shorter than what prosecutors request. Some conservative judges nominated under President Donald Trump have made that call.
Jackson didn’t always opt for shorter sentences. For cases that included attempted or actual sexual abuse of a minor, Jackson generally agreed with prosecutors’ recommendations. In one instance, she handed down a sentence that was eight years longer than what the guidelines recommended.
Greene, a congresswoman from Georgia, took the view that supporting Jackson’s nomination amounts to being pro-pedophile. This mangles logic and language.
The defendants were sent to jail. Once released, they had to live under oversight that restricted their movements and activities for 10 to 20 years. Punishing people does not equal supporting their crimes.
Greene said Murkowski, Collins and Romney are pro-pedophile.
All three lawmakers have clear track records of moving against child exploitation, whether online or in person.
Greene’s claim is beyond preposterous.
It’s Pants on Fire!
Marjorie Taylor Greene, tweet, April 4, 2022
Marjorie Taylor Greene, tweet, April 4, 2022
Mitt Romney, Remarks at Values Voter Summit, Oct. 20, 2007
Tech Crunch, Could Romney really ban porn?, July 24, 2012
National Center on Sexual Exploitation, Victory! NCOSE Endorses "END Network Abuse Act" to Combat Child Sexual Abuse Material, Dec. 26, 2019
Office of Sen. Brian Schatz, The End National Defense Network Abuse (END Network Abuse) Act, 2019
U.S. Congress, S.534 - Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse, Feb. 14, 2018
Newsweek, Marjorie Taylor Greene Calls GOP Senators Supporting Brown 'Pro-Pedophile', April 4, 2022
PolitiFact, Josh Hawley misleads on Judge Jackson and child pornography sentencing, March 24, 2022
Marsh Law Firm, Senate Passes Child Pornography Victims Enhanced Federal Civil Remedies Bill, Nov. 14, 2017
Email exchange, Nick Dyer, spokesman, Office of Marjorie Taylor Greene, April 6, 2022
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