United States legislators have subpoenaed top tech executives for documents and communications as part of a Republican bid to show collusion between Silicon Valley and Washington to suppress the free speech of conservatives.
The US House Judiciary Committee, led by Ohio Republican Jim Jordan, wrote to the chief executives of Google, Amazon, Apple, Meta and Microsoft on Wednesday demanding documents, including any White House communications related to the regulation of content, by March 23.
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“The House Judiciary Committee has repeatedly attempted to engage with the five companies since last December. Unfortunately, the companies have not adequately complied with our requests,” the panel said in a statement.
“Congress has an important role in protecting and advancing fundamental free speech principles, including by examining how private actors coordinate with the government to suppress First Amendment-protected speech.”
The panel is part of a broader Republican effort – launched when the party took over the US House of Representatives in January – targeting President Joe Biden, Silicon Valley, the intelligence community and an alleged “woke” leftist takeover of federal agencies.
Jordan and other conservatives have accused Big Tech of suppressing conservative speech and colluding with the Biden administration. The White House and leading tech companies have rejected the claims.
Microsoft and Meta said they had already begun producing documents. Microsoft said it was “engaged with the Committee, and committed to working in good faith”. None of the other three companies responded to a request for comment.
After taking over the House, Republicans created a Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government as part of an effort to ramp up scrutiny of Big Tech.
Last week, the panel held its first hearing into Republican claims that the Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) show anti-conservative bias, a move made following the FBI’s discovery of hundreds of classified documents at former Republican President Donald Trump’s Florida resort.
Jordan wrote related letters to the companies in December, when the House was in Democratic hands and before he became chair.