Williams and Van Duyne Pen Letter to Biden Administration Requesting Materials to Determine Alleged Misuse of Taxpayer Dollars to Stifle Speech Online
Washington, June 8, 2023
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, Congressman Roger Williams (R-TX), Chairman of the House Committee on Small Business, and Congresswoman Beth Van Duyne (R-TX), Chairman of the Small Business Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Regulations, issued the following statements after penning a letter to the U.S. State Department’s Global Engagement Center requesting funding reports to shed light on the alleged misuse of taxpayer dollars in restricting online revenue for small businesses.
“The federal government has no business circumventing the constitutional protections of private citizens,” said Chairman Williams. “Recent reporting has shown taxpayer dollars have been used to stifle speech online. For many small businesses that rely on the internet to reach their customers, this alleged interference could have wide ranging implications within the digital economy. No small business should be prevented from reaching their customers based on their viewpoints or the values of the business owners. The House Committee on Small Business stands determined to ensure all businesses, regardless of political leanings or views, can compete fairly on the internet.”
“Americans are fed up with the federal government’s repeated abuses of power – from harassing private citizens to censoring others based on political ideology,” said Rep. Van Duyne. “Yesterday, we took an important step in our work to hold the federal government accountable for abusing taxpayer dollars to advance a partisan agenda that appears to violate Americans’ constitutional rights.”
Read the full letter here.
The House Committee on Small Business is looking into government funding of non-governmental organizations that interfere with advertising revenue of small businesses because of the viewpoint of the business or business owner.
Based on a 2018 funding report of the State Department’s Global Engagement Center, at least one federal grant has been given to an organization who ranks small news organizations by their supposed trustworthiness, ultimately interfering with their ability to compete with larger media conglomerates. The Committee wants to see the recent funding reports shone light on the extent of the government’s involvement in promoting work of similar organizations, especially those which proactively reach out to advertising exchanges to have specific businesses removed from their platforms with the explicit goal of demonetization.