Rep. Jordan Touts Weaponization Panel’s Role in Exposing Government–Big Tech Censorship


Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) speaks during John Durham’s testimony in Congress in Washington on June 21, 2023. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who chairs the Weaponization subcommittee, has said that the panel’s investigation “has uncovered smoking gun documents showing how Big Tech and Big Government worked together to stifle free speech online.”

On Aug. 7, Mr. Jordan was one of 12 congressional Republicans who joined a lawsuit against the Biden administration’s censorship-by-proxy scheme that involved pressuring social media companies to stifle free speech.

The Weaponization subcommittee recently obtained a cache of files documenting alleged government collusion with Facebook to silence speech protected under the First Amendment.

“We know through the Facebook Files that the Biden Administration directed Big Tech companies to censor speech the government disagreed with, and launched a pressure campaign when companies did not comply with these censorship orders quickly enough,” Mr. Jordan said.

In May 2022, Republican attorneys general in Louisiana and Missouri filed a lawsuit against President Joe Biden and multiple government agencies, alleging that they pushed social media platforms to censor posts and remove accounts in what the complaint said was one of the “greatest assaults” on freedom of speech by the federal government in U.S. history.

Judge Terry A. Doughty of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana ruled in favor of the attorneys general on July 4, issuing an injunction that banned government agencies from contacting or working with Big Tech companies to censor social media posts.

The Biden administration appealed, and on July 14 a three-judge panel for the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans granted the government’s request to place the censorship-by-proxy ban on hold.

In its appeal, the Biden administration contended that the government faced “irreparable harm” each day that the injunction remained in effect because it was so broad that federal agencies were blocked from communicating with social media companies for legitimate and lawful reasons, like fighting crime.

Judge Doughty denied the Department of Justice’s request to stay his earlier ruling.

“Although this Preliminary Injunction involves numerous agencies, it is not as broad as it appears,” Judge Doughty wrote on July 10. “It only prohibits something the Defendants have no legal right to do—contacting social media companies for the purpose of urging, encouraging, pressuring, or inducing in any manner, the removal, deletion, suppression, or reduction of content containing protected free speech posted on social-media platforms.”

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) talks about government censorship on social media during an address at a Republican women’s club event in Loveland, Ohio, on Aug. 7, 2023. (Jeff Louderback/The Epoch Times)

Lawyers for the DOJ filed an emergency stay of the injunction at the 5th U.S. District Court of Appeals, resulting in the appeals court’s decision to pause the social media contact ban.

The Weaponization committee, Mr. Jordan said, discovered “smoking gun” evidence that Biden administration members collaborated with Meta, Facebook’s parent company, to delete COVID-19 pandemic information, including what they called vaccine misinformation and the theory that the COVID-19 virus could have originated from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

An email shows that Meta employees said the company was “under pressure” from the administration to suppress posts regarding the lab leak theory, according to the briefing.

A separate email indicated that an employee allegedly informed Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sundberg that the firm was “facing continued pressure from external stakeholders, including the White House and the press, to remove more COVID-19 vaccine discouraging content,” the briefing noted.

“What’s most concerning to me is the attack the left now has on the First Amendment. You stop and think about every single right we enjoy as Americans under the First Amendment has been assaulted over the last couple of years. Every single one,” Mr. Jordan told members of a Republican women’s club in Loveland, Ohio, on Aug. 7.

During a July 27 press briefing, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said: “We have promoted responsible actions to protect public health, safety, and security when confronted by challenges like a deadly pandemic and foreign attacks on our elections.

“And we have consistently made clear that we believe social media companies have a critical responsibility to take account of the effects of their platforms that they have on the American people while making independent decisions about the content of their platforms. That continues to be the case. That has not changed, on what we believe here,” Ms. Jean-Pierre added.

In a letter Mr. Jordan sent to Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee, the congressman praised the committee’s work on combating government censorship on social media and other topics.

“Over the first seven months of this Congress, we have worked aggressively to expose misconduct in the Executive Branch, fight the politicization of government, and hold the Biden Administration accountable,” Mr. Jordan said in the letter, according to the Washington Examiner. “Our job is far from complete, but we should take stock of what we have accomplished so far and the impact we’ve made for the American people.”

“Our investigations have yielded real results,” the committee chairman wrote. “We have uncovered new and shocking information about government abuses. The committee’s actions have forced bureaucracies to change their tactics to respect Americans’ civil liberties. We have passed legislation to advance the cause of freedom, protect our fundamental rights, reduce government, and enhance our security.”

The Epoch Times has not been able to independently verify the contents of the letter.

Mr. Jordan, who has emerged as one of the most high-profile Republicans in the U.S. House, often speaks in self-deprecating language and likes to say that “I’m just a hillbilly from Champaign County.”

A former Ohio state senator and state representative, Mr. Jordan has served as a U.S. Representative in Ohio’s 4th district, which includes rural Champaign County, since 2007.

At the Republican women’s club address in southwest Ohio, Mr. Jordan added, “It’s frightening what’s happening in this country with the attacks against our First Amendment rights, but the good news is we’re making a difference.”

Tom Ozimek contributed to this article.

From The Epoch Times

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