Mar 16, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: RNC sues Salesforce to block Jan. 6 committee data dump

 The Jan. 6 committee investigating the Capitol riot
(L-R) Reps. Bennie Thompson, Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger attend a Jan. 6 committee meeting on Capitol Hill in December. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Republican National Committee is suing its own email vendor, Salesforce, in a last-ditch effort to stop it from turning over extensive internal data to the Jan. 6 select committee, Axios has learned.

Driving the news: The RNC is seeking an emergency injunction to block the software giant from complying with a subpoena from the panel investigating the Capitol riot by a 10am ET Wednesday deadline.

Why it matters: Absent an injunction, the committee would gain access to extensive data on RNC and Trump campaign fundraising practices.

  • It's seeking that information as part of an investigation into the use of false claims about 2020 election fraud to raise money for Trump-aligned political efforts.
  • The subpoenaed records include extensive information on who at the RNC sent its fundraising emails, who received them and how effective they were at raising money in the wake of the 2020 election.

Details: The subpoena seeks RNC and Trump campaign fundraising data gleaned from its use of Salesforce email marketing software.

  • The RNC is also amending a lawsuit filed last week against the committee to include Salesforce as a defendant.
  • Axios reviewed copies of both the amended complaint and the injunction motion.

Between the lines: The RNC says Salesforce made initial assurances it would not turn over that data while its lawsuit against the committee was pending.

  • But one day after Axios reported on the lawsuit, Salesforce told the RNC it was legally obligated to produce the requested records and would do so regardless of the litigation, the amended complaint says.

What they're saying: The RNC has "asked the court to expedite consideration of the case,” chief counsel Justin Riemer told Axios in an emailed statement.

  • It's added Salesforce to the lawsuit, he said, "in order to protect the constitutional rights of the Republican Party and its millions of supporters."
  • "Even though the court has yet to weigh in, the Select Committee demands that Salesforce immediately turn over the private data of millions of Americans and the RNC’s political strategy, which lie at the heart of our lawsuit."

A Salesforce spokesperson declined to comment.

  • A spokesperson for the Jan. 6 committee also declined to comment.

Don’t forget: The RNC has been alleging that the Jan. 6 Committee is not properly structured and therefore lacks subpoena power at all.

  • Experts told Axios last week that courts have traditionally been reluctant to limit Congress' investigative powers, but that an RNC victory in the case — which also alleges First and Fourth Amendment violations — is not out of the question.
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