Acting U.S. Attorney General Matt Whitaker is facing scrutiny over his involvement in alleged scams at a patent company, including claims of time travel, proof of Bigfoot, and a “masculine toilet” invention.
Mother Jones reports Whitaker was named to the advisory board of World Patent Marketing in Nov. 2014, the same month the Miami Beach-based firm announced the launch of an extra-deep toilet designed to help “well-endowed men” go to the bathroom without their genitalia making contact with the porcelain or water.
“The average male genitalia is between 5 inches and 6 inches,” the invention-marketing company said. “However, this invention is designed for those of us who measure longer than that.”
Whitaker appeared in some promotional videos for World Patent Marketing, including for a hot tub product, but also used his name as a former U.S. Attorney and Republican candidate for United States Senate to bolster the company’s stranger items.
For example, a promotional video from the company claimed “DNA evidence collected in 2013 proves that Bigfoot does exist” to help sell Sasquatch dolls and a celebrity event called “You Have Been Squatched!”
World Patent Marketing also said “time travel” could be “possible, perhaps within the next decade” to raise money for a “theoretical time travel commodity tied directly to price of Bitcoin.” Time Travel X was branded as “an investment vehicle” that could help users “relive moments from your past” or “visit your future.”
The Washington Post reports World Patent Marketing was forced to shut down in May, agreeing to pay a settlement of nearly $26 million to resolve wide-ranging Federal Trade Commission complaints about defrauding investors.
“The defendants promised to promote people’s inventions and took thousands of dollars, but provided almost no service in return,” acting FTC Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen stated in a news release. “Then they added insult to injury by threatening people who complained.”
According to the Post, Whitaker claimed he was unaware of the company’s allegedly fraudulent activities, despite remaining on its board until joining the Justice Department last year. Two people familiar with the FTC investigation said Whitaker had been told of the complaints and failed to act or respond.
President Donald Trump appointed Matthew G. Whitaker, 49, as acting attorney general last week after forcing Jeff Sessions to resign as AG. Whitaker, a former federal prosecutor, served as Sessions’ chief of staff.
The appointment sparked criticism, including from some lawyers claiming it violates the Constitution. Democrats also raised concerns about Whitaker’s past comments on CNN criticizing Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia; Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said that Whitaker should recuse himself from overseeing the investigation.
The Hive reports four Democrats are also raising alarm about Whitaker’s involvement with World Patent Marketing. Reps. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) sent seven letters requesting information on Whitaker’s participation in the company, pointing to “serious questions [that] are now arising about his fitness to serve in this position of trust.”
Whitaker’s involvement with World Patent Marketing has also inspired late-night mockery from Stephen Colbert.
“Bigfoot, time travel, fraud. You can’t ask for more. And yet, the Matt Whitaker giveth, because I invite you now to join me in viewing the best product the new attorney general of the United States ever helped sell the world: the extra-deep ‘masculine toilet’ for the well-endowed,” the “Late Show” host said Wednesday night. “Lord, I don’t know what I did to deserve Matthew Whitaker, but I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart–and from the bottom of my, I now see, feminine toilet.”