Judge dismisses Republican National Committee complaint filed Jan. 6 against committee, says panel was properly constituted
A federal judge for the District of Columbia has a Republican National Committee Lawsuit seeking to block the Jan. 6 House Select Committee from accessing records related to GOP donation emails sent in the days leading up to the Capitol attack donald trump Supporter.
In March, the RNC filed lawsuits against the nine-member panel after Chairman Bennie Thompson issued a subpoena for Salesforce, owner of a digital tool the GOP uses to create and distribute donation emails, to order documents and testimony Search “whether and how the Trump campaign used Salesforce’s platform to spread false statements about the 2020 election prior to the attack on the Capitol.”
The RNC later added Salesforce as a defendant in the lawsuit and filed filings asking District Judge Timothy Kelly to issue an injunction barring enforcement of the subpoena and a statement that it was void because it was “used to.” Prosecution of Non-legislative Activities was issued because the Special Committee is illegitimate without the Republican members appointed by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and because it violates the First Amendment.”
But Judge Kelly, an agent for former President Donald Trump, dismissed each of those arguments and ordered the lawsuit dismissed, citing the House of Representatives’ immunity from lawsuits under the US Constitution’s speech and debate clause. He explained that this provision, which gives the House and Senate protections similar to MPs’ parliamentary privilege, even prevents the courts from hearing the case.
“First, the RNC’s claims against the House defendants must be dismissed. As intended by the framers, House defendants are immune from charges under the speech or debate clause. Furthermore, the court lacks the substantive jurisdiction to alternatively refer the lawsuits brought against them, as they request,” he wrote.
The judge later wrote that “none” of the RNC’s arguments in support of its position that the speech or debate clause was inapplicable was convincing.
Responding to arguments that the select committee should not enjoy immunity “because the subpoena is merely an ‘open attempt by political enemies to uncover the internal deliberations and political and digital strategy of a competing political party,'” Judge Kelly said of the “issue One claim is that courts “must not consider” Congress’ “motives” when assessing whether the speech or debate clause applies. He added that the clause was an “absolute stumbling block” to the RNC’s claims that “must be dismissed”.
Judge Kelly also dismissed arguments that the panel itself was not “properly authorized” because it had nine members, all chosen by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Republican attorneys had pointed to the House resolution establishing the panel, which said Ms. Pelosi should appoint Republican members “after consultation with the minority leader” as evidence that the committee was improperly composed.
However, Judge Kelly pointed to a previous case in which he ruled that Mr Trump had the ability to name his own choice for director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, saying that using the word “shall” Ms Pelosi did not force to appoint the maximum number of committee members.
He also dismissed claims that Ms Pelosi illegitimate the committee by opposing Mr McCarthy’s decisions, writing that the only thing the speaker needed to do was seek Mr McCarthy’s “advice or opinion”.
“There is no disputing that she did it. That she did not accept all of his recommendations, and that Minority Leader McCarthy then withdrew all of his recommendations, does not mean that Speaker Pelosi failed to consult with him,” he wrote. He also stated that the House of Representatives’ decision to disregard witnesses for disobeying subpoenas meant that the panel considered the panel legitimate even without the full 13-person composition that it approved.
The judge also dismissed Republican claims that the panel’s access to its data would give Democrats on the committee access to closely guarded secrets related to the GOP’s digital strategy, calling such concerns “speculative,” noting that the need the committee’s interest in the information outweighs any benefit Democrats might derive from access to the data in question.
“There is no indication that the select committee is making any demands or that Salesforce is preparing to produce internal RNC memoranda outlining its digital strategy,” he wrote. “Obviously, information showing which email campaigns have garnered more attention and which ones have received less attention has some strategic value. But for the record, the competitive harm that the RNC could incur from disclosure of the actual disputed material is too “logically attenuated” and “speculative” to frustrate the weighty interest of the select committee.”
Judge Kelly later added that the limited window of time in which the panel would like to review the communications — the two months stretching from the Nov. 3 election to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol — was available for the panel’s investigation “clearly relevant”.
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/republican-lawsuit-january-6-rejected-b2069839.html Judge dismisses Republican National Committee complaint filed Jan. 6 against committee, says panel was properly constituted