Kim Dotcom—the German-born tech mogul who is fighting extradition to the U.S. on racketeering and money-laundering charges—is getting ready to shake up the U.S. political scene.
In a dramatic series of tweets Monday, Dotcom announced he's planning to bring his Internet Party, which failed to take off in his home country of New Zealand, to the U.S. next year. "The Internet Party is coming to the United States in 2015. Stay tuned for our celebrity founders from the music, film, and Internet industry," Dotcom wrote.
He didn't hold back his enthusiasm in the announcement.
I'm not a pirate. I'm not a fugitive. I'm not a flight risk. I'm your Internet Freedom fighter AND Hillary's worst nightmare in 2016!— Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) December 1, 2014
New Zealand's Internet Party, which Dotcom founded earlier this year, did not get off to a promising start. In the country's September election, the Internet Party, which allied with a party representing the indigenous Maori people, earned just 1.26 percent of the vote. The party's failure came just a week after a high-profile cast of Internet personalities, including Edward Snowden, Wikileaks cofounder Julian Assange, and journalist Glenn Greenwald, participated in a rally promoting the party.
According to its website, the New Zealand Internet Party supports open Internet policies and cheap Internet access, and opposes mass surveillance. True to form, its policy papers are hosted on Google Drive.
Dotcom has a fraught relationship with the U.S. government, to say the least. The Justice Department is seeking to try Dotcom on numerous charges connected to Megaupload, a file-sharing website he founded in 2005. The government says the files shared on Megaupload—often pirated films, music, and other media—cost copyright holders $500 million in lost revenue. The FBI shut down the site in 2012, but Dotcom promptly replaced it with a similar service called Mega.
Given that he's fighting to stay away from American courts—his extradition hearing is scheduled for June 2015—it's no surprise that Dotcom says he'll play only an advisory role in the U.S. party he's envisioning.
"The Internet Party US will be well funded and run by American citizens. I will help with Public Relations ;-)" Dotcom tweeted.
This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal.
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