Apr 22, 2022 - Politics & Policy

GOP primes probe of Twitter's response to Elon Musk

House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan at a Committee hearing

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee. Photo: Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

House Judiciary Committee Republicans on Friday demanded Twitter's board of directors preserve documents and other materials about their response to billionaire Elon Musk's takeover attempt.

Why it matters: The request signals the House GOP's plans to launch an investigation if they take the majority as part of a broader crusade against what they say is major tech companies' bias against Republicans.

  • A Judiciary GOP spokesperson told Axios last month that "Big Tech censorship" is among their planned oversight targets.

What they're saying: "Decisions regarding Twitter’s future governance will undoubtedly be consequential for public discourse in the United States and could give rise to renewed efforts to legislate in furtherance of preserving free expression online," the GOP members wrote in letters to each board member.

  • They called the board's reaction to Musk's $43 million cash offer to buy Twitter, and "outsider opposition" to Musk being a part of Twitter, "concerning."
  • "Twitter’s Board Members have fiduciary duties to the company’s shareholders. These duties apply despite how many corporations’ leaders increasingly pursue progressive policy goals divorced from shareholder interests," they wrote.

The context: Twitter adopted a "poison pill" in response to Musk's offer, giving shareholders time to buy more stock in an effort to dilute Musk's stake if he acquires more than 15% of the company.

What's next: The letter asks for the board to preserve documents relating to "Twitter’s consideration and response to this offer, and Twitter’s evaluation of its shareholder interests with respect to Musk’s offer."

  • "This instruction includes all electronic messages sent using official and personal accounts or devices, including records created using text messages, phone-based message applications, or encryption software."
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