Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney's support of a bill in 2012 that targeted anonymous online comments drew criticism Wednesday from U.S. Rep. Richard Hanna's campaign.
Tenney, R-New Hartford, who is challenging Hanna, R-Barneveld, in the 22nd Congressional District GOP primary, cosponsored an Assembly bill, A8688A, that would require websites "upon request to remove any comments posted... by an anonymous poster" unless the author of the comments agrees to "attach his or her name to the post and confirms his or her IP address, legal name and home address are accurate."
The bill supported by Tenney would also require websites to have a phone number or email address displayed for users seeking to request removal of an anonymous post.
Hanna's campaign cites a Daily Caller story on the legislation written in May 2012 that includes a comment from Eugene Volokh, a UCLA law professor, who said the bill is "clearly unconstitutional."
MIchael Fandrich, Hanna's campaign manager, slammed Tenney in a statement released Wednesday.
"Free speech, including anonymous speech, helped found our nation and it is a right guaranteed by the Constitution in the First Amendment," Fandrich said. "It's outrageous that Assemblywoman Tenney believes Albany has the right to censor the Internet and control how New Yorkers communicate online.
"Assemblywoman Tenney may want to ban speech that she disagrees with, but Richard Hanna will always defend the First Amendment and stand strong for a free and open Internet."
Without a Democratic challenger in the 22nd District race, the GOP primary has been getting more attention. Tenney was endorsed Wednesday by Carl Paladino, a former Republican gubernatorial candidate.
Last week, Tenney challenged Hanna to a series of debates in the district.
Along with Hanna and Tenney, Michael Kicinski is also vying for the Republican nomination.
Hanna was first elected in 2010 to represent the 24th Congressional District, which included Auburn and most of Cayuga County. In 2012, his district was redrawn and is now the 22nd District, which doesn't include Cayuga County.
The 22nd District includes all of Chenango, Cortland, Madison and Oneida counties, plus portions of Broome, Herkimer, Oswego and Tioga counties.