On Thursday, Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) called for the immediate dissolution of the Biden administration’s recently announced Disinformation Governance Board in a letter sent to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
Hawley tweeted screenshots of the letter with the caption, “The Administration that activated the FBI against parents at school board meetings now has created a government Disinformation Board to monitor all Americans’ speech. It’s a disgrace. Joe Biden & Secretary Mayorkas: dissolve this monstrosity immediately.”
The Administration that activated the FBI against parents at school board meetings now has created a government Disinformation Board to monitor all Americans’ speech. It’s a disgrace. Joe Biden & Secretary Mayorkas: dissolve this monstrosity immediately pic.twitter.com/hSnMpREizI
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) April 28, 2022
“I write with deep concern about the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to create a new Disinformation Governance Board. I confess, I at first thought this announcement was satire. Surely no American Administration would ever use the power of Government to sit in judgment on the First Amendment speech of its own citizens,” Hawley’s letter began. “Sadly, I was mistaken. Rather than protecting our border or the American Homeland, you have chosen to make policing Americans’ speech your priority. This new board is almost certainly unconstitutional and should be dissolved immediately.”
“For well over a year, your Department has consistently treated competing policy views as disinformation to be monitored or investigated. However, political debates on issues such as immigration, pandemic lockdowns, and foreign policy clearly constitute ‘core political speech’ protected by the First Amendment,” he continued. “The Supreme Court has even gone so far as to say that ‘Under the First Amendment there is no such thing as a false idea.’ The apparent broad mandate of this new government entity to ‘coordinate countering misinformation’ in America undermines the argument that it can even exist consistent with the Constitution.”
Hawley then noted the partisanship of proposed board leader Nina Jankowicz, pointing out that Jankowicz suggested the Hunter Biden laptop story was Russian disinformation and that she has said the United States is systemically racist.
“Jankowicz has said the new DHS Board will ‘maintain the Dept’s committment [sic] to protecting free speech.’ This is particularly ironic given Jankowicz’s extensive criticism of free speech and the First Amendment,” Hawley continued, noting that Jankowicz has said that “the ‘free speech vs censorship’ framing is a false dichotomy.”
“And when Elon Musk announced his acquisition of Twitter, she said ‘I shudder to think about if free speech absolutists were taking over more platforms, what that would look like for the marginalized communities … which are already shouldering … disproportionate amounts of this abuse.’ Jankowicz has even described opponents of social media speech codes as ‘first amendment zealots.’ These statements that question the value of free speech are obviously disqualifying for such a role,” Hawley continued.
“While Democrats have for years controlled the public square through Big Tech allies, Mr. Musk’s acquisition of Twitter has shown just how tenuous that control is. It can only be assumed that the sole purpose of this new Disinformation Governance Board will be to marshal the power of the federal government to censor conservative and dissenting speech. This is dangerous and un-American,” Hawley concluded. “The board should be immediately dissolved.”
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