A left-wing group funded by the Center for American Progress and George Soros's Open Society Foundations submitted a letter to the government that advocated for murdering Republicans.
Free Press, a well-funded liberal group that aims to "reshape media" in the United States, sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission that included the question: "Are we going to have to shoot Republican[s] to reclaim our democracy?"
The Free Press letter, which called on the FCC to "investigate its own history of racism and examine how its policy choices and actions have harmed black people and other communities of color," was signed by just under 5,000 of the group's members, who were given the opportunity to provide comment along with their signature. The call to "shoot" Republicans came from a California member named David Lyons, who further complained that "racist horseshit like FOX and the other ultraconservative outlets and Christians" owned "most of our media."
Free Press formally withdrew the petition after FCC commissioner Brendan Carr said its inclusion of violent rhetoric was disqualifying.
"The only action the FCC should take on a request like this—one based on a comment asking whether Republicans should be shot—is to dismiss it with prejudice," Carr told the Washington Free Beacon. "The FCC should not endorse this type of call for violence by opening an FCC proceeding on it."
Free Press says it "deeply regrets that this incident occurred" and pledged to "take measures in the future to closely review public comments to ensure that this never happens again."
The letter isn't the first instance of politically charged rhetoric from Free Press, which counts the Center for American Progress, Tides Foundation, and George Soros's Open Society Foundations as major donors. Its CEO Jessica González has a long track record of demonizing political opponents, writing in 2018 that civility is "bullshit."
"If 'civility' demands we STFU & politely welcome white supremacists from this Administration who are committing atrocities & violence against our communities, then FUCK civility," Gonzalez said. "You will not distract us with this bullshit."
Free Press did not respond to a request for comment on how Lyons's comment was included in the letter or further action it has taken since. The group resubmitted its letter without the attached comments.
The Center for American Progress did not respond to request for comment about whether it will continue to fund Free Press in the future.