U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney is named as a defendant in a lawsuit filed by the Republican National Committee against the congressional committee investigating the events surrounding the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Cheney and the other committee member are the subjects of a complaint filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court asking that the committee be prevented from obtaining records from email marketing company Salesforce, which the RNC works closely with. The RNC is arguing that this is non-public information on Republican donors, volunteers and supporters and the internal deliberative processes of the organization.
“The Select Committee’s subpoena to Salesforce…vastly exceeds Congress’ limited subpoena power and infringes on the rights of the RNC,” the lawsuit said. “The RNC and its millions of supporters face an unprecedented threat that will undoubtedly chill their First Amendment rights and expose the RNC’s supporters to reprisals and harassment.”
The Jan. 6 committee’s subpoena seeks email data from Election Day 2020 through Jan. 6, 2021, the day rioters attacked the Capitol as Congress was certifying the presidential election results, declaring now President Joe Biden the victor over former President Donald Trump.
The RNC argues in the lawsuit that the subpoena includes a “staggeringly broad” and “unduly burdensome” set of requests referring or relating to RNC documents that have no connection to the Jan. 6 attack.
It was noted in the lawsuit that the complaint was not intended to circumvent Congress’ legislative power to address the Jan. 6 attack.
“Rather, the RNC has been forced to bring this lawsuit in order to ensure the events of that day are not used as a pretense to indiscriminately rifle through the internal affairs and deliberations of one of the country’s two major political parties by an irregularly composed Select Committee dominated by members of the other,” the lawsuit said.
Cheney and the other members of the committee were sued in their official capacities as members of Congress.
Cheney spokesman Jeremy Adler responded Friday to the lawsuit by referring Cowboy State Daily to the committee’s official statement.
“The Select Committee is investigating a violent attack on the Capitol and an attempt to overturn the 2020 election,” committee spokesman Tim Mulvey said this week. “Between Election Day 2020 and Jan. 6, the RNC and the Trump campaign solicited donations by pushing false claims that the election was tainted by widespread fraud. These emails encouraged supporters to put pressure on Congress to keep President Trump in power.
“Claims about a stolen election motivated rioters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6,” Mulvey continued. “The Select Committee issued a subpoena to an email fundraising vendor in order to help investigators understand the impact of false, inflammatory messages in the weeks before Jan. 6, the flow of funds and whether contributions were actually directed to the purpose indicated. This action has absolutely nothing to do with getting the private information of voters or donors.”
Cheney and Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Illinois, are the only two Republicans serving on the committee.
In February, the RNC formally censured the two Republicans for their work on the committee.
The resolution adopted by the national committee accused the representatives, through their work on the committee, of participating in a “Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens who engaged in legitimate political discourse.”
Initially, the resolution proposed removing Cheney and Kinzinger from the House Republican Conference, but ultimately this was changed Thursday to a formal censure.
The resolution was altered due to concerns that the criticism of Cheney and Kinzinger for serving on the committee had gone “too far.”