Republicans are demanding that the Twitter board store records of Musk’s bids

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, attends a press conference with members of the GOP Doctors Caucus following a meeting of the House Republican Conference in the US Capitol on Wednesday, January 19, 2022.

Tom Williams | CQ-Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images

A group of 18 House Republicans is asking Twitter’s board to keep all records related to Elon Musk’s offer to buy the company and establish a potential congressional inquiry if the party wins the majority back in the fall.

In letters shared exclusively with CNBC, Republicans in the House Judiciary Committee asked Twitter Chairman Bret Taylor and other board members to retain all communications from official or personal accounts, including through encryption software relating to Twitter’s consideration of Musk’s offerings.

“As Congress continues to examine Big Tech and how to best protect Americans’ freedom of speech, this letter serves as a formal request that you retain all records and materials related to Musk’s offer to purchase Twitter, including Twitter’s consideration and response. this offer, and Twitter’s evaluation of its shareholder interests with respect to Musk’s offer, “read the letter, led by Rank member Jim Jordan, R-Ohio.

“You should construe this conservation notice as an instruction to take all reasonable steps to prevent the destruction or alteration, whether intentional or negligent, of all documents, communications and other information, including electronic information and metadata, that is or may be potentially responding to this congressional inquiry, “the letter continued.

The request signals that if Republicans were to take the majority back in the House by the 2022 midterm elections, they could launch a Twitter investigation, especially if the company refuses to accept the offer from Musk, who is CEO of Tesla and SpaceX. Under Republican scrutiny, the House Judiciary Committee could decide to convene records of the Board’s internal deliberations.

This is not the first time Twitter has caught the attention of Republican lawmakers.

The platform has become a focal point for some conservative members who have accused Twitter of unfairly removing or moderating posts for ideological reasons. Twitter has refused to do so, saying it enforces standards based on its community guidelines.

In the letter to Taylor dated Friday, lawmakers wrote: “Decisions regarding Twitter’s future governance will undoubtedly have a consequence for public discourse in the United States and may give rise to renewed efforts to legislate to promote the preservation of freedom of expression online. a. The board’s reactions to Elon Musk’s offer to buy Twitter and outside opposition to Musk’s role in Twitter’s future are worrying. “

Twitter also became the focus of Republican criticism in October 2020, when it blocked links to a New York Post story claiming that Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, while his father was vice president, tried to introduce his father to a top executive from a Ukrainian company he worked for. A spokesman for Biden’s presidential campaign said at the time of the publication of the story that such a meeting never took place and that the Post “never asked the Biden campaign about the critical elements of this story.”

Twitter said at the time it blocked links to the story because it violated its hacked materials policy and included personal information such as email addresses, which also violated its rules. Then-CEO Jack Dorsey later said it was “wrong” to block links to the story, saying Twitter updated its policy to reflect that. The trial escalated criticism from the right on Twitter, many of whom felt the company was unfairly blocking history for ideological reasons.

A Twitter spokesman declined to comment.

Here are the letters to Twitter’s board members.

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