WASHINGTON — Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, commented Tuesday after a U.S. district court ordered Backpage.com to comply with a Senate subpoena and hand over documents within 10 days.
Backpage.com is an online company that has been linked to reported cases of sex trafficking, including children.
“The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruling supports the committee’s right to gather critical information as it investigates the very serious issue of human trafficking on the internet,” said Johnson. “I remain committed to supporting Subcommittee Chairman Portman and Ranking Member McCaskill as they continue their fact-finding. We must continue to do everything within our power to fight for victims of human trafficking and help prevent the horrific crime of sex trafficking online.”
The committee’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations subpoenaed Backpage.com in 2015. Because of the company’s refusal to comply with the subpoena, Sen. Johnson, as chairman of the full committee, filed a resolution to hold the company’s CEO in contempt. This resolution passed the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee 15-0 on Feb. 10, 2016. The Senate passed a civil contempt resolution 96 to 0 to authorize the lawsuit against Backpage.com.