Special elections

Reid Hoffman apologizes for funding disinformation in Alabama special election

Reid Hoffman sitting on a stage for an event.
Reid Hoffman. Photo: Kelly Sullivan/Getty Images for LinkedIn

Billionaire venture capitalist and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman apologized on Wednesday for funding a group responsible for spreading disinformation during the Alabama Senate special election last year, according to the Washington Post.

Between the lines: This is the first time Hoffman has acknowledged that he invested $750,000 in American Engagement Technologies, a group that used misleading Facebook pages and other disinformation tactics to target Republican Roy Moore and boost support for Democrat Doug Jones, who ultimately won the close race. Hoffman said in a statement that he was not aware his money was being used for these purposes and that he supports a federal investigation into the matter.

Why the Mississippi Senate runoff is like Alabama (and why it isn't)

Cindy Hyde-Smith and Mike Espy
Hyde-Smith (left) and Espy. Photos: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via Getty, Wikimedia Commons

Some Republicans are worried that today's Mississippi Senate runoff could end up like last year's Alabama special election, with a scandal-plagued Republican candidate losing to a Democrat in deep red, Republican territory.

The big picture: Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith has been fighting late controversies of her own making — saying she'd attend a "public hanging," among other things — just as Alabama's Roy Moore was damaged by his own late controversies (allegations of being a sexual predator). But there are also some important reasons why Hyde-Smith, unlike Moore, might survive, including the fact that President Trump and the GOP haven't kept her at arm's length the way they did with Moore.