Matt Whitaker is a real piece of work. In the less than a week since his appointment to acting Attorney General by President Trump, journalists have uncovered a history that includes working as an advisor for an inventions marketing company which was under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission for defrauding customers.
Since the investigation surfaced, Whitaker has claimed that he was unaware of the criminal activity at World Patent Marketing before it was forced to shut down and pay $26 million in settlements. Now it seems that Whitaker was aware of his businesses’ shady actions, at least according to one man who tried to bring them to light, the Washington Post reports.
Ed Magedson published criticisms of the company on his website Ripoff Report in 2015, a year after Whitaker joined the company’s board. Magedson says he received a call from Whitaker in which the acting AG angrily demanded he remove the posts.
“He threatened me, using foul language,” Magedson told the Post. “He threatened to sue and to ruin my business if I did not remove the ‘false reports.’”
Magedson says that at one point during the call, Whitaker threatened to report Ripoff Reports to the Department of Homeland Security.
“He did not threaten me physically, but said he would shut us down and threatened to refer us to a federal agency, Homeland Security,” Magedson said. “He was yelling.”
So, according to this report, not only did Whitaker know about the complaints against his company years before they settled with customers, he also seems to have tried to cover up their wrongdoing using threats and intimidation.
DHS is holding firm on their line that Whitaker was unaware of the scam, and barely involved in day to day operations at World Patent Marketing.
“Acting attorney general Matt Whitaker has said he was not aware of any fraudulent activity. Any stories suggesting otherwise are false,” Kerri Kupec, a spokeswoman for DHS, told the Post.