The House Oversight and Reform Committee has asked three former Twitter executives to answer questions about suppressing negative news of Hunter Biden before the 2020 election.
The committee, now under Republican control, also seeks more information about financial transactions by President Joe Biden’s son as well as the president’s brother, Jim Biden.
Oversight Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., says he wants to know more information about Twitter’s censoring of the New York Post’s reporting on the contents of Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop just before the 2020 presidential election.
Comer sent letters to James Baker, Twitter’s former deputy general counsel, who previously was an FBI lawyer involved in the bureau’s “Russia collusion” investigation.
Comer also sent letters to Yoel Roth, former global head of trust and safety at Twitter, and Vijaya Gadde, former chief legal officer for the social media giant.
“For the past two years, the Biden administration and Big Tech worked overtime to hide information about the Biden family’s suspicious business schemes and Joe Biden’s involvement,” Comer said in a prepared statement. “Now that Democrats no longer have one-party rule in Washington, oversight and accountability are coming.”
Big Tech will be an important oversight priority for the House’s new Republican majority, said Rep. Kevin Hern, R-Okla., the new chairman of the Republican Study Committee, the House’s largest GOP caucus.
“If you just step back for a second and think about this, we have a government agency, or someone who is influential in the government, calling a private company [and] asking for messaging to be suppressed,” Hern told The Daily Signal in an in-person interview. “That should bother everybody, regardless of whether you are a Republican or Democrat.”
Hern noted this became known only because of the release of the so-called “Twitter Files,” in which new Twitter CEO Elon Musk releases internal information about the company’s past practices through trusted reporters.
“This is the kind of thing that makes most Americans fear Big Tech,” Hern said. “Both Democrats and Republicans should be very concerned. It should be a bipartisan approach to fix this. We shouldn’t have publicly traded companies in the technology space, purporting to be an avenue of the First Amendment, out there influencing and suppressing speech based on somebody that called them.”
On another front, Comer wrote to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen requesting information on the suspicious financial activity reports.
More than 150 international business transactions by Hunter Biden and Jim Biden generated “suspicious activity” reports from U.S. banks for further review by the Treasury Department to determine whether any illegal activity or threat to national security existed, CBS News first reported last April.
U.S. banks are required to flag suspicious financial activity and report it to the Treasury Department. While in the House minority, Republicans sought information on the transactions, but Biden’s Treasury Department refused to provide it. Now that they are in the majority, Republicans have subpoena power to compel release of information.
“For years, the Biden family peddled influence and access around the world for profit, often at the expense of our nation’s interests,” Comer said. “The American people must know the extent of Joe Biden’s involvement in his family’s shady business deals and if these deals threaten national security and his decision making as president.”
Hern, the chairman of the Republican Study Committee, has a background in the banking industry as well as other businesses. The Oklahoma Republican noted that disclosure rules must apply equally and, in the past, the Treasury Department provided such information when Congress requested it.
“We need to know where money is going around the country. There is a federal mandate,” Hern told The Daily Signal, adding:
If one group is allowed to suppress those over another, that’s problematic. We need an open and transparent government, as much as can be done, not one that has been closed up and weaponized.
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