Gaetz hammers former GOP colleague-turned-Disney lobbyist in tense exchange

Gaetz hammers former GOP colleague-turned-Disney lobbyist in tense exchange

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Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., hammered his former Republican colleague-turned-Disney lobbyist in a tense exchange on Tuesday. 

Gaetz turned the heat up on former House Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., during the committee’s Tuesday hearing on government access to Americans’ personal data.

Goodlatte, who retired in 2018, was asked by Gaetz about his work with Disney and what the Mouse House is doing to prevent children’s data from being sold.

Gaetz said he was worried about “private entities” trying to “program” people and “make them think a certain way” by harmfully utilizing people’s data.

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Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., said he was concerned about "private entities" trying to "program" people and "make them think a certain way" by taking advantage of their data.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., said he was concerned about “private entities” trying to “program” people and “make them think a certain way” by taking advantage of their data. ((Kevin Dietsch/Pool via AP, File))

“Like particularly with the Walt Disney corporation that it is in business with the Chinese Communist Party,” Gaetz said, pointing to Disney thanking the Chinese government for allowing them to film on location where a literal genocide is taking place.

“Does it concern you that the Walt Disney corporation is selling the information of children?” Gaetz asked.

“I don’t know if that’s the fact,” Goodlatte responded, with Gaetz asking if he was being “purposefully ignorant” while testifying against the practices Gaetz accused the Mouse House of using.

Goodlatte said he did not know about the accusations Gaetz leveled and that he couldn’t comment on them.

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Gaetz went on to bring up a conversation the pair had as members in the Capitol Hill Club — DC’s prime, private hang-out spot for Republican lawmakers.

“Chairman Goodlatte, do you remember a conversation you and I had when you lead this committee at the Capitol Hill Club where you said, ‘The best way to be successful in the Judiciary Committee is to find interest groups that are opposed to one another and to tell both of them that you’ll support their positions so they’ll both make donations?’” Gaetz asked.

Goodlatte said he “definitely” did not “remember the conversation.”

Gaetz ended the exchange by entering several articles into the congressional record that he mentioned during the hearing, including an LA Times report on Disney using robots to harvest park-goers’ personal data.