Senate votes to hold website in contempt over sex ads

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate has voted to hold the classified advertising website Backpage.com in civil contempt for failing to comply with a congressional subpoena into how it screens ads for possible sex trafficking.

The vote was 96-0.

Republican Sens. Rob Portman of Ohio and Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri sponsored the resolution after they said the company refused to comply with a subpoena last year. Holding the company in contempt would allow the Homeland and Governmental Affairs Committee to go to court to try to force Backpage.com to turn over documents about its screening practices.

A lawyer for Backpage.com has said the company does not believe Congress can compel an online publisher of third-party advertisements to produce the documents under the First Amendment.