Jan. 6 Panel Sued Over Attempt to 'Unlawfully' Seize 'Confidential Information'
The Republican National Committee is battling efforts by the House panel investigating the 2021 Capitol insurrection to subpoena information from one of its vendors.
The panel, formally known as the United States House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, has issued a subpoena to a company known as Salesforce that was involved in sending out fund-raising appeals to potential donors and tracking the responses.
In a lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia, the RNC argued that the Democratic-dominated panel’s demand for information from the company is “overbroad” and “seeks sensitive and proprietary data,” according to Reuters.
“The RNC has sued to stop the January 6th Committee from unlawfully seizing confidential information about the internal activities of the Republican Party and millions of its supporters which is completely unrelated to the attack on the Capitol,” the RNC said in a statement.
The subpoena was issued last month.
“The Select Committee is seeking information from Salesforce regarding whether and how the Trump campaign used Salesforce’s platform to disseminate false statements about the 2020 election in the weeks leading up to the January 6th attack. Accordingly, the Select Committee seeks documents and a deposition regarding these and other matters that are within the scope of the Select Committee’s inquiry,” committee chairman and Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson wrote in a Feb. 23 letter to the company.
But the RNC’s filing states that the subpoena means that the RNC “and its millions of supporters face an unprecedented threat that will undoubtedly chill their First Amendment rights and expose the RNC’s supporters to reprisals and harassment,” according to Axios.
Turning over the data would give opponents “an all-access pass to confidential RNC political strategies and the personal information of millions of its supporters.”
There’s little doubt about the committee’s sharply partisan edges. It was established without any Republican-appointed members after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s appointments of Republican Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Jim Banks of Indiana.
Its only two Republican members are Pelosi appointees: Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois and Liz Cheney of Wyoming.
Both are prominent opponents of former President Donald Trump, but of the two, only Cheney is seeking another term in Congress.
Of the Democratic members, possibly the most prominent is California Rep. Adam Schiff, the chief House manager of Trump’s first impeachment trial.
But House committee spokesman Tim Mulvey said the panel is out to follow the money and that the subpoena was issued “to help investigators understand the impact of false, inflammatory messages in the weeks before January 6th, the flow of funds, and whether contributions were actually directed to the purpose indicated.”
The subpoena “has absolutely nothing to do with getting the private information of voters or donors,” the committee said, according to Reuters.
The records from Salesforce are part of a wider battle in which, according to The Washington Post, “the panel has focused on whether violations of federal wire fraud laws occurred when individuals raised funds by promoting the idea that the election was stolen while knowing the claims were false.”
Given the nature of political claims, that could be easier to allege than prove, Brendan Fischer, the federal reform program director at the Campaign Legal Center, told the Post.
“Campaign finance laws don’t really regulate the truth or falsity of fundraising appeals, but we have seen a number of prosecutions recently on wire fraud conspiracy charges for people who misled donors on how money would be used,” he said.
The RNC and a spokesman for Trump said the panel is going on a fishing expedition in hopes of finding something it can portray as damaging.
An RNC statement said the House committee “lacks legitimacy.”
“The RNC had nothing to do with the violence that occurred at the Capitol and has repeatedly condemned it. In fact, we were a target of violence that day and had a bomb placed outside of RNC headquarters, which put our staff in immediate danger and is something the committee has yet to investigate. Nancy Pelosi’s committee has weaponized Congress’ investigatory power, lacks legitimacy, has exceeded its scope, and disregards checks and balances,” RNC spokeswoman Danielle Alvarez said in the statement, according to the Post.
In a statement to the Post on behalf of Trump’s Save America PAC, Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich the panel “continues to illegally weaponize the powers of government to threaten, intimidate, and infringe on the rights of those who support President Trump. It is a disgrace and clear this committee has completely abandoned the lie that this committee was formed to investigate January 6.”
In a personal statement, he put framed the House committee’s actions in the context of the November midterm elections, which currently appear to be favorable toward the GOP.
“As we head into a GOP landslide in the Midterm Elections, every American should consider: does anyone possess Constitutional Rights in the face of a partisan committee?” Budowich’s statement said, according to the Post.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
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