House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy warned Tuesday of consequences for companies that comply with requests for user data made by the select committee investigating the Jan. 6. riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Mr. McCarthy, California Republican, was accused of attempted obstruction later Tuesday and was told he would not deter fellow House members from conducting their bipartisan investigation.
Nearly two months since the House voted to create the select committee, its members recently contacted several telecommunications and internet providers requesting they retain or provide certain records.
Most recently, a report published Tuesday said that 35 telecoms and social media companies have been ordered to hold on to phone records and other information relevant to the ongoing House investigation.
In a statement posted on Twitter, Mr. McCarthy claimed any company that turns over private information would be in violation of unspecified federal law and risks losing its ability to operate in the U.S.
“If companies still choose to violate federal law, a Republican majority will not forget and will stand with Americans to hold them fully accountable under the law,” Mr. McCarthy said in the statement.
The select committee replied to Mr. McCarthy the social media service later Tuesday by asserting it will not have its efforts to investigate the events of Jan. 6 hindered by the Republican minority leader.
“The Select Committee is investigating the violent attack on the Capitol and attempt to overturn the results of last year’s election,” it said in a statement. “We’ve asked companies not to destroy records that may help answer questions for the American people. The committee’s efforts won’t be deterred by those who want to whitewash or cover up the events of January 6th, or obstruct our investigation.”
Mr. McCarthy had not responded publicly as of Wednesday morning. His spokesperson did not immediately respond an inquiry about what law the companies would allegedly be violating.
It is not rare for Congress or its committees and subcommittees to send out subpoenas compelling the production of documents or witnesses, and the Select Committee is authorized to issue them.
Previously, the select committee recently contacted several executive branch agencies, as well as internet and social media services, requesting various information related to the 2020 election and Jan. 6.
Citing an unnamed source, The Washington Post reported Tuesday that the select committee asked nearly three dozen companies this week to retain phone records and other information related to its inquiry.