House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan asked the Department of Justice Wednesday for copies of documents from a civil case demonstrating how the federal government allegedly pressured Big Tech companies to violate Americans’ First Amendment rights.
After the states of Missouri and Louisiana sued the Biden administration last May seeking relief for alleged free-speech violations, documents were uncovered in the case showing communications between White House officials and employees of social media companies, Mr. Jordan, Ohio Republican, wrote in a letter.
He said the documents appear to show that the executive branch “repeatedly pressured” social media platforms to censor particular viewpoints.
“The Committee on the Judiciary is conducting oversight of the Executive Branch’s efforts to sidestep the First Amendment by coercing and coordinating with private companies, including social media platforms, to suppress free speech and censor content online,” Mr. Jordan wrote.
“As part of our oversight, we write to request a discrete set of documents and information that the Department of Justice has produced as part of discovery in federal litigation over the same subject matter,” he wrote.
The Judiciary Committee chairman gave the Justice Department two weeks to produce the documents. The request came on the same day that House Oversight Committee Republicans grilled three former Twitter executives over censoring and banning conservatives’ accounts.
During the hearing, Republicans asked about the company’s decision to block users from sharing the story about the contents of the laptop belonging to President Biden’s son Hunter, and if the social media platform acted under pressure from the government when it suppressed the story.
“America witnessed a coordinated campaign by social media companies, mainstream news and the intelligence communities to suppress and de-legitimize the existence of Hunter Biden’s laptop and its contents,” said Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, Kentucky Republican.
The former Twitter employees said the platform’s decision to censor the Hunter Biden story on their site was a mistake, but disputed that they colluded with government officials.