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Republicans Sue Jan. 6 Panel Over Salesforce Data Subpoena

·2 min read

(Bloomberg) -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and members of Congress probing the Capitol riot are abusing their subpoena power to access non-public data on GOP donors, volunteers and supporters, the Republican National Committee claimed in a federal lawsuit.

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The House select committee issued an “overbroad” demand for sensitive RNC data from Salesforce.com Inc., a vendor that helped with Republicans’ mass email campaign during and after the 2020 presidential election, the party said in a suit filed Wednesday in Washington.

“If allowed to stand, this unprecedented sweep of a national political party’s donors’ and supporters’ private information will surely chill constitutionally protected political activity and subject the RNC’s supporters to the risk of reprisals,” the RNC said.

The RNC has called the committee probing the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection illegitimate, censured its two GOP members and argued that the siege -- which forced lawmakers to flee, caused more than $1 million in damage and left 140 police officers injured -- was “legitimate political discourse.”

Carolyn Guss, a spokeswoman for San Francisco-based Salesforce, declined to comment.

The suit names Pelosi, the committee and all nine members, including its two Republicans participants Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, who reject former President Donald Trump’s claims that the election was stolen and the riot was justified.

‘False Messages’

The committee said in a statement that the subpoena was issued to help investigators understand the impact of “false, inflammatory messages in the weeks before January 6th,” as well as the flow of funds and whether money raised was “actually directed to the purpose indicated.”

“This action has absolutely nothing to do with getting the private information of voters or donors,” committee spokesperson Tim Mulvey said.

The RNC said it used the Salesforce Marketing Cloud platform to help develop and execute email-driven fundraising activities during the period leading up to the 2020 presidential election and through President Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20, 2021. That period includes the raid on the Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters.

The company was ordered to respond to the subpoena by Wednesday and provide a representative for a deposition on March 16, according to the filing.

The case is Republican National Committee v. Pelosi; 1:22-cv-00659; U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (Washington).

(Updates with detail on GOP’s use of Salesforce product)

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