In ‘most significant legal confrontation’ yet, Jan. 6 committee subpoenas for sensitive data, RNC launches lawsuit

In what Axios is calling “the most significant legal confrontation so far,” the Jan. 6 select committee has subpoenaed Big Tech giant and Republican National Committee vendor, Salesforce, and the RNC is suing to stop the disclosure of the sensitive fundraising information.

Salesforce owns ExactTarget, a digital marketing company that facilitates mass-email campaigns for its clients, among which is the RNC. According to Axios, the committee is seeking “evidence of fundraising practices based on falsehoods that may have contributed to the attack.”

“The committee is seeking RNC email data from Election Day 2020 through January 6, 2021, including data on how many emails were sent, when they were sent, and how often recipients opened them and clicked through to donation pages,” reports the Daily Mail.

“The Select Committee’s investigation and public reports have revealed evidence of Salesforce’s involvement in and knowledge of events within the scope of the Select Committee’s inquiry,” the subpoena reads. “Information provided to the Select Committee and public reporting indicate that during the 2020 election cycle, Salesforce provided its services to President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign and to the Republican National Committee (‘RNC’).”

The subpoena goes on to call the “tenor” of the emails “inflammatory.”

“According to public reporting, ‘The tenor of emails sent to [President Trump’s] supporters in the leadup to January 6 were certainly inflammatory, with nearly every email suggesting that the election was fraudulent, that Democrats had stolen the election, and that Congress needed to be pressured to overturn the results to keep Trump in power,'” the subpoena alleges.

In its complaint — which names Nancy Pelosi, Elizabeth Cheney, and Adam Schiff, among other committee members — the RNC states: “The RNC and its millions of supporters face an unprecedented threat that will undoubtedly chill their First Amendment rights and expose the RNC’s supporters to reprisals and harassment.”

In turning over the data, political opponents would gain “an all-access pass to confidential RNC political strategies and the personal information of millions of its supporters,” the document continues.

“If forced to comply, Salesforce would disclose records regarding whether and how individual RNC supporters have responded to emails (including at what time they opened such emails) reacted to specific political messaging, signed any RNC petitions, completed any surveys on specific issues and policy proposals, or responded to specific fundraising appeals,” the complaint contends. “It would also include information regarding individual voting habits, involvement in various coalition groups, and even what political merchandise they liked best.”

But the Select Committee swears their subpoena isn’t about doxing the personal data of RNC supporters.

In a statement, the committee insists the subpoena has “nothing to do with getting the private information of voters or donors.”

According to spokesperson Tim Mulvey, its purpose is “to help investigators understand the impact of false, inflammatory messages in the weeks before January 6th, the flow of funds, and whether contributions were actually directed to the purpose indicated.”

Social media, along with the RNC, is skeptical.

“Complete bulls*** from Pelosi’s Jan 6 Kangaroo Kommittee,” tweeted former Trump 2020 Advisory Board member Nan Hayworth, M.D. “Now they want all Salesforce data from the RNC. If it hasn’t been obvious to you this is a strictly political fishing expedition, it should be now.”

“SHAME on Cheney, Kinzinger, all participants!” Dr. Hayworth added.

Former RNC Chief of Staff Mike Shields calls the committee’s subpoena an attack on every Republican.

“This proves beyond any doubt what a political charade this committee is,” Shields tweeted. “It is now being weaponized to attack the entire Republican Party.”

“We’ve gone from ‘let’s find out what happened on January 6th’ to ‘let’s force the Republican Party to turn over all its small donor information to the government and dox all its undisclosed small donors,” Shields continued, calling it “A really dangerous abuse of power.”

According to Politico senior legal affairs reporter Kyle Cheney, it is unclear, given the RNC’s pending lawsuit, if Salesforce will comply with the subpoena’s deadline.

“While telecom companies often refuse to comply while litigation is pending, it’s unclear whether Salesforce abides by a similar policy,” Cheney tweeted. “In other words, it’s possible the company has already — or will shortly — deliver these documents to the select committee despite the RNC’s lawsuit.”


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Melissa Fine


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