Key states say Justice has not invited them to meeting about tech 'stifling' free speech

Key states say Justice has not invited them to meeting about tech 'stifling' free speech
© Greg Nash

Democratic attorneys general from key states such as California and New York say the Department of Justice (DOJ) has not invited them to a meeting to review the practices of tech companies.

Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsMcGahn departs as White House counsel The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump requests Turkey's evidence on missing journalist | Takeaways from Texas Senate debate | Key Mueller findings could be ready after midterms The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — GOP faces ‘green wave’ in final stretch to the midterms MORE announced the meeting Wednesday, saying it would assess whether companies such as Twitter, Facebook and Google are "intentionally stifling the free exchange of ideas” online.

The meeting is meant to follow up on a congressional hearing this week at which executives from Twitter and Facebook testified, and will determine if conduct from those companies and others is “hurting competition,” the DOJ said.

However, representatives for New York, California, Connecticut and Washington, all of which are involved in tech and consumer protection issues, told The Washington Post for a story Friday night that their states’ attorneys general have not yet been invited.

The Democratic Attorneys General Association said it "had not heard any Democratic attorneys general [are] invited" as of Friday morning, communications director Lizzie Ulmer told The Washington Post. 

Of the 50 state attorneys general contacted by The Washington Post, 10 Democrats and five Republicans said they had not yet received an invitation.

“Normally, you’d want to invite all the state AGs because you don’t want to leave uncoordinated some of those relationships,” Jeffrey Blumenfeld, a former DOJ antitrust official and a partner at the law firm Lowenstein Sandler, told the Post.

The Department of Justice did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill. 

The meeting comes as conservative activists and politicians, including President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump renews attacks against Tester over VA nominee on eve of Montana rally Trump submits 2017 federal income tax returns Corker: Trump administration 'clamped down' on Saudi intel, canceled briefing MORE, have accused tech companies of stifling conservative voices by blocking or promoting certain search results and banning user accounts.

“Google search results for 'Trump News' shows only the viewing/reporting of Fake News Media. In other words, they have it RIGGED, for me & others, so that almost all stories & news is BAD. Fake CNN is prominent. Republican/Conservative & Fair Media is shut out. Illegal?” Trump tweeted in August.

“Twitter ‘SHADOW BANNING’ prominent Republicans. Not good. We will look into this discriminatory and illegal practice at once! Many complaints,” Trump wrote the previous month.