Federal judge rejects RNC lawsuit against Jan. 6 panel
A federal judge in Washington, D.C., on Sunday rejected a lawsuit filed by the Republican National Committee (RNC) against the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot.
The RNC had alleged its First and Fourth Amendment rights were violated when the panel subpoenaed Salesforce, a software company it used for fundraising efforts.
In a 53-page opinion, Judge Timothy Kelly of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed all claims against the House committee and ruled that its subpoena does not violate the First Amendment, arguing “less is at stake than the RNC represents.”
“The subpoena’s demand for this information does not seek the disclosure of confidential internal materials and does not add to the RNC’s burden,” Kelly wrote in his opinion. “For the information the parties acknowledge exists but is currently confidential—such as the performance data of the RNC’s email campaigns during this period—the strength of the Select Committee’s interest in this information outweighs any actual burdens imposed by its disclosure to the Select Committee.”
Kelly also ruled the subpoena does not violate the Fourth Amendment, that the House committee has a legitimate purpose in its inquiry and that lawmakers on the committee were immune from a lawsuit under the speech and debate clause.
The judge temporarily paused the subpoena through an administrative injunction, giving the RNC the ability to appeal the decision by May 5.
The RNC’s chief counsel, Matt Raymer, said in a statement the organization “strongly disagrees with this ruling” but announced they would appeal the judge’s decision.
“Nancy Pelosi’s attempted seizure of her political opponents’ campaign strategy cannot be allowed to stand, and we appreciate Judge Kelly continuing to temporarily block the subpoena,” he said. “The RNC will continue to fight for the Constitutional rights of Republicans across the country and will appeal this decision.”
In its wide-reaching investigation of the events on and around Jan. 6, 2021, the congressional panel has interviewed and subpoenaed dozens of people, including various figures close to former President Trump.
The House panel subpoenaed Salesforce on Feb. 23, seeking documents from the Salesforce Marketing Cloud platform used by the RNC.
The RNC sued on March 9, claiming “this action has absolutely nothing to do with getting the private information of voters or donors.”
–Updated at 11:49 p.m.