House Republicans plan to launch a subcommittee to expose collusion between federal agencies and private companies when they take power on Tuesday.
Currently named the “Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government,” GOP lawmakers will use their new House majority to examine how the intelligence community and federal law enforcement influenced corporate America to censor narratives and track citizens, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
Unlike a select committee, such as the one called by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to examine the January 6 attack on the United States Capitol, a subcommittee has the power to consider and introduce legislation, raising the possibility of reforming a bureaucratic structure which many Republicans believe poses a threat to the system of checks and balances once central to the operation of the federal government.
The planned creation of the committee reflects a demand from House Republicans skeptical of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) serving as the next Speaker of the House. Seven lawmakers requested a body styled after the Church Committee to consider federal abuses with investigative powers such as issuing subpoenas.
The Church Committee, a select committee formed by the Senate in 1975, exposed several controversial CIA operations, including the infiltration of civil rights organizations and efforts to plant assets in foreign and domestic news outlets. Kimberly Strassel, the columnist at The Wall Street Journal who broke the news of the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, argued that the Church Committee “did far more harm than good” by “allowing the left to attack and undermine” the intelligence community.
The seven lawmakers also called on McCarthy, who is seeking the top office in the House of Representatives with a razor-thin majority, to only introduce single-issue bills and make serious efforts to limit federal spending.
The planned creation of the subcommittee occurs after Twitter CEO Elon Musk released a series of “Twitter Files” he said detailed coordinated efforts between federal agents and former executives of the social media company, which he acquired at the end of last year. There existed “an organized effort by representatives of the intelligence community” aimed at “senior executives at news and social media companies” to discredit “leaked information about Hunter Biden before and after it was published,” according to a release from independent journalist Michael Shellenberger, arguably impacting the outcome of the 2020 election.
The FBI paid Twitter more than $3.4 million for its “legal process response,” apparently referencing the time executives spent coordinating with the agency on discussing stories that agents wanted them to suppress.
Another release from investigative journalist Matt Taibbi publicized numerous emails between federal law enforcement agencies and company officials in which officials repeatedly flagged election-related posts from small accounts for the company to censor. The FBI responded to the release by stating that the agency “regularly engages with private sector entities to provide information specific to identified foreign malign influence actors’ subversive, undeclared, covert, or criminal activities.” Days later, a second statement from the FBI claimed that “conspiracy theorists and others are feeding the American public misinformation with the sole purpose of attempting to discredit the agency.”