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Dems may have swayed election, broken laws with disinformation campaign against Roy Moore

The state attorney general is considering an investigation

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

Alabama's attorney general is considering an investigation into a disinformation campaign waged by Democratic operatives against Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, according to The Washington Post.

The campaign, Project Birmingham, was an effort to disseminate false information about Moore in order to boost Democratic candidate, and eventual winner, Doug Jones' chances of winning the special election in December 2017.

"The information is concerning," Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall told The Washington Post. "The impact it had on the election is something that's significant for us to explore, and we'll go from there."

What laws may have been broken? Marshall said he is looking into whether the campaign somehow violated campaign finance laws, in addition to whether it had an impact in determining a race that Jones won by about 20,000 votes.

How did the campaign operate? Tactics used to discredit Moore included a Facebook page seeking to appeal to Republicans who might not vote for Moore to write in other candidates, other online and social media content seeking to undermine Moore, and fake evidence that Moore supporters online were actually Russian bots.

How was it funded? LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman apologized Wednesday for donating $750,000 to American Engagement Technologies, a group is led by former Obama administration official Mikey Dickerson that has alleged ties to Project Birmingham.

Hoffman pledged millions of dollars two years ago to help get more Democrats elected.

"I find the tactics that have been recently reported highly disturbing," Hoffman said. "For that reason, I am embarrassed by my failure to track AET — the organization I did support — more diligently as it made its own decisions to perhaps fund projects that I would reject."

Doug Jones calls for an investigation: Jones, who beat Moore, said he supported an investigation into any illegal tactics that may have been used to undermine the integrity of the election.

"Illegal influence operations are a serious threat to our democracy, regardless of where these activities originate or who they seek to support," Jones told The Washington Post.

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