Court Battles

RNC adds Salesforce as defendant in lawsuit against Jan. 6 panel

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The Republican National Committee (RNC) is adding Salesforce as a defendant to its lawsuit against the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

The RNC sued the House panel, its members and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) last week after the committee issued a subpoena to Salesforce, a customer relations software company that the RNC uses for fundraising efforts. The RNC had claimed that the subpoena to Salesforce violated the First Amendment and Fourth Amendment and “does not advance a legislative purpose.”

On Tuesday evening, however, the RNC announced in a statement that it updated its lawsuit to add Salesforce as a defendant, and is requesting an immediate declaratory and injunctive relief. It said the preliminary injunction would bar the Jan. 6 panel from receiving data and information until the litigation is heard in court.

The RNC said it decided to add Salesforce as a defendant because the company planned to comply with the subpoena “after pressure from the committee.”

The group accused the committee of “abusing its power and pressuring Salesforce to ignore the RNC’s original lawsuit under the risk of being held in contempt of Congress,” and called the situation “a shakedown.”

RNC Chief Counsel Justin Riemer called the subpoena issued to Salesforce “unconstitutional,” and said his client asked the court to expedite consideration of the case.

“Even though the court has yet to weigh in, the Select Committee demands that Salesforce immediately turn over the private data of millions of Americans and the RNC’s political strategy which lie at the heart of our lawsuit. These heavy-handed tactics are wrong and a clear overreach,” Riemer wrote in a statement. “In order to protect the constitutional rights of the Republican Party and its millions of supporters, the RNC has added Salesforce to the lawsuit and asked the court to expedite consideration of the case.”

The Jan. 6 panel declined to comment when reached by The Hill on Tuesday.

In a statement after the RNC filed its initial lawsuit, however, committee spokesperson Tim Mulvaney said the RNC and Trump campaign asked for donations “pushing false claims that the election was tainted by widespread fraud.”

“Claims about a stolen election motivated rioters who stormed the Capitol on January 6th,” he added.

The RNC is arguing that it was not involved with the violence that took place at the Capitol on Jan. 6, and noted that it has condemned the incident. It also claimed that the panel’s seizure of information from Salesforce “will be devastating to the RNC’s operations, and to its voters and supporters.”

“The data the committee is attempting to seize can be used to piece together the RNC’s confidential and highly sought after digital political strategies,” the RNC wrote in a statement.

“It could also be used to target and harass the RNC’s supporters, since this data contains private information about their political activities and beliefs,” it added.

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