Google may face contempt of Congress charges as the House Judiciary chair threatens to take action against the tech giant for not providing the subpoenaed documents.
Ohio’s House Judiciary Committee Chair, Jim Jordan, has issued a warning of potential enforcement action against Google.
Committee Considers Holding Company in Contempt of Congress for Failing to Produce Subpoenaed Documents on Tech Company-Biden Administration Communications.
Google’s compliance efforts have been deemed “insufficient” by Jordan, who sent a letter to the company’s lawyer. The letter, which was exclusively obtained by Networkustad, demanded that Google provide additional information. Committee Warns of Enforcement Measures if Company Fails to Comply by May 22 Deadline
Jordan Subpoenas CEOs of Google Parent Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Meta, and Microsoft
In February, a demand was made for the release of communication between tech companies and the U.S. government. The request was made in order to investigate potential coercion and collusion between the Executive Branch and these intermediaries to censor speech. Companies have been requested by Jordan to comply by March 23. After requesting the information voluntarily, he made a formal request when the companies failed to comply adequately.
Tech Giants Subpoenaed in Congressional Investigation, Google Reportedly Less Responsive Than Others As part of a congressional investigation, several tech giants have been subpoenaed. However, according to an anonymous source familiar with the matter, Google has been less responsive to the demands than the other companies. The source declined to be named in order to speak freely.
Congress has the power to hold individuals in contempt if they refuse to provide information requested by a committee. Committee and Floor Votes Required for Approval with Simple Majority The House is currently under Republican control with a majority of 222-213.
According to a 2017 paper from the Congressional Research Service, criminal contempt cases can be referred to the Justice Department. Alternatively, Congress could pursue a civil judgement from a federal court to attempt to enforce the subpoena.
Committee Considers Taking Further Action Against Google In addition to their ongoing investigation, the committee is reportedly considering other measures against Google. These may include deposing the company’s management and attempting to limit federal funding to Google in future legislation.
Alphabet’s compliance with the committee’s demands has been deemed inadequate by Jordan, who outlined various instances of non-compliance in a letter.
Alphabet has been accused of frustrating the Committee’s review of the responsive material by unilaterally redacting key information necessary to understand the context and content of the material, according to a statement made by an individual.
Committee Demands Unredacted Documents from Alphabet Alphabet has not claimed that the redacted information contains privileged details, as per Representative Jim Jordan. The committee has requested the documents without any redactions.
According to Jordan, the company has created a “reading room” where certain documents have been placed. However, the manner in which these documents have been presented makes it difficult for the Committee to understand and utilize them. Additionally, this method of presentation does not comply with the terms of the subpoena, unless the Committee consents.
According to sources, Alphabet has reportedly produced 4,000 pages of documents in response to a subpoena. Committee Assumes Google Has More Communications Yet to Be Included in Documents Alphabet’s Subsidiary Companies’ Documents and Social Media Platform Communications Among Items Requested in Content Moderation Probe
Reports on internal documents made available by Twitter owner Elon Musk to a select group of journalists have revealed the extent of communication and coordination between the Executive Branch and technology companies in regards to content moderation. This information was highlighted by Jordan, who commented on the release of the so-called “Twitter Files”. Alphabet’s Interactions with Federal Government Under Scrutiny, Similar to Twitter’s, Experts Say
Google Responds to Committee’s Requests for Documents According to a statement from a Google spokesperson, the company has been providing relevant documents to the committee since December. The spokesperson also stated that Google will continue to work constructively with the committee.
Read Also: Proven Ways for Kids to Learn to Code