Republican members of Oversight and Reform Commission demand emergency hearing about online censorship

December 17, 2020
In The News

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Fred Keller (R-Pa.) has joined his colleagues from the House Committee on Oversight and Reform in demanding that Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) hold an emergency hearing about online censorship in light of the news that Hunter Biden's business dealings are under federal investigation.

House Oversight Republicans claim that a New York Post article regarding Hunter Biden's foreign business dealings was censored by Facebook and Twitter. The committee further expressed concerns of political bias among large tech companies and the silencing of conservative voices and values. Chairwoman Maloney refused to hold a hearing about the issue.

Last week, Hunter Biden confirmed that his taxes are indeed under federal investigation. In response, the Oversight Republicans sent a second letter to Chairwoman Maloney demanding an emergency hearing about censorship.

On the second letter, Congressman Fred Keller made the following statement:

“Despite Big Tech’s censorship of Americans’ free speech in the Hunter Biden cover-up, we now know he is under federal investigation. This level of unchecked censorship is unacceptable and has no place in the United States. I urge Chairwoman Maloney to hold an emergency hearing to hold Big Tech accountable for its clear violations of Americans’ free speech.”

The full text of the letter follows:

Dear Madam Chairwoman:

On October 15, 2020, we requested you hold an emergency hearing on Big Tech’s repeated efforts to interfere in the 2020 election. At that time—just days before the November 3, 2020 presidential election—Facebook and Twitter censored a news article about Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, regarding his Ukrainian business dealings while his father was Vice President.These Big Tech companies both limited and/or denied distribution of the New York Post’s report, and Twitter locked the New York Post’s account.

Last week, both Hunter Biden and the Biden-Harris Transition Team acknowledged Hunter Biden is under federal investigation for his “tax affairs.” Reporting indicates this investigation is related to his overseas business dealings. In light of Hunter Biden’s admission that he is under investigation, especially after Big Tech’s unjustifiable censorship of the New York Post’s report, we are renewing our hearing request. Big Tech’s silencing of viewpoints and censorship of news undermines our electoral process, our institutions, and our U.S. Constitution.

As we explained in our October 15 letter, shortly after the New York Post posted its story on Facebook the company “reduc[ed] its distribution” in an apparent attempt to limit access to the story. Just as concerning, Facebook reportedly refused to answer basic questions about its decision. Twitter also censored the article and warned users that it is “potentially spammy or unsafe,” and locked the New York Post’s Twitter account.

As Hunter Biden admitted last week, he is under federal investigation regarding his taxes, potentially related in part to the very matters the New York Post reported, yet for which it was censored. Indeed, additional reporting from NBC News refers to a 2017 email to Hunter Biden regarding his income from Burisma and “need to amend” Biden’s 2014 tax returns to reflect the “unreported” income. An NBC spokesperson did not dispute the authenticity of the email, which came from a laptop dropped off at a computer hardware store in Delaware—the same laptop and same computer hardware store discussed in the New York Post’s October 14 article censored by Big Tech for being “potentially spammy or unsafe.” Big Tech’s effort to selectively limit speech based on political affiliation is a disturbing patten [sic] of censorship in our nation—a nation that holds out the First Amendment’s right to freedom of speech and freedom of the press as two of our most paramount freedoms.

As Big Tech platforms continue to limit speech based on political ideology, we must immediately hold a hearing to learn who are responsible for making these decisions and what policies enable Big Tech to selectively limit and/or censor speech on social media. We reiterate our request the Committee hold an emergency hearing on this important matter as soon as possible.