House GOP Twists Screws On State Dept In Censorship Probe
U.S. Rep. Roger Williams (R-TX) leaves a House Republican conference meeting in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill on October 24, 2023 in Washington, DC.
(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

A House panel is pressing the State Department to be more forthcoming in a probe into alleged government censorship that is also the subject of a lawsuit brought by The Daily Wire.

GOP lawmakers, who are looking into whether the government funded private entities to discredit small businesses and their owners over their political speech and views, sent a letter on Monday to James Rubin, coordinator of the agency’s Global Engagement Center (GEC), contending the organization’s previous delivery of information to Congress “appears to be incomplete” with dozens of awards doled out in recent years seemingly omitted from the tranche.

“The GEC award recipients revealed in its partial production have caused enough concern that the Committee is requesting more detailed information to understand the reality and scope of what these companies are using taxpayer dollars for,” wrote Small Business Committee Chairman Roger Williams (R-TX) and Rep. Beth Van Duyne (R-TX), chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Regulations.

“The GEC’s initial production was provided to the Committee over five months after the requested due date of June 21, 2023. The result was a five-page spreadsheet; there is no reason the GEC would need one month per page of production. The Committee needs all relevant documents to ensure all American small businesses are able to compete online without interference from the federal government,” they added.

On its website, the GEC touts how it is focused on “proactively” leading interagency efforts to counter disinformation and propaganda from foreign adversaries. But Republicans suspect the center is surreptitiously propping up activities that suppress free speech at home, particularly on social media as has been illustrated by the “Twitter Files,” and they have talked about pulling taxpayer dollars from the GEC.

A deadline of January 22 was given for the additional documents and information requested by the lawmakers.

A State Department spokesperson told The Daily Wire that the agency is “committed to being responsive to congressional oversight and continues to work with the House Small Business Committee on its requests.” The spokesperson added, “However, as a general matter, we do not comment on our communications with Congress.”


Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, joined with The Daily Wire and The Federalist last month in suing the State Department, accusing the government agency of funding censorship technology designed to bankrupt domestic media outlets with disfavored political opinions. The lawsuit seeks to put a stop to the alleged effort to boost censorship organizations that regularly target conservative media outlets with the stated goal of limiting ad revenue.

The New York Times published a report last month that said Rubin rejected claims that his organization censors Americans’ comments online. “What we do not do is examine or analyze the U.S. information space,” he said.

Also noted in the article was how the Supreme Court is poised to weigh in on a broader social media censorship case brought by the GOP attorneys general from Missouri and Louisiana in the spring following an appeals court panel ruling that said there was “no indication that State Department officials flagged specific content for censorship, suggested policy changes to the platforms or engaged in any similar actions that would reasonably bring their conduct within the scope of the First Amendment’s prohibitions.”

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