Google parent company Alphabet has been accused of not complying with a House Judiciary Committee subpoena by Republican Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan. In a letter addressed to the company on Monday, Jordan claimed that Alphabet has failed to produce unredacted documents in breach of the March 23 deadline for such material. Jordan initially subpoenaed the company in February, requesting details of contacts it had with federal government officials who may have requested digital content censorship. Alphabet is one of several firms to have been subpoenaed by the Judiciary Committee over this issue.
Jim Jordan thinks Google's parent company is acting squirrelly
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) May 8, 2023
The Ohio Republican accused Alphabet of “frustrating” attempts to review responsive materials, despite producing some 4,049 pages of documentation. Jordan claimed that the company has redacted important information that would help to provide “context and content” to the material. Alphabet’s “rolling productions” thus far have failed to produce other key documents, which the Committee believes the company may hold.
“If Alphabet fails to comply in full with the subpoena’s demands, the Committee may be forced to consider the use of one or more enforcement mechanisms.”
— House Judiciary GOP (@JudiciaryGOP) May 8, 2023
The complaint reflects a wider concern among conservative Republicans regarding extensive contacts between intelligence operatives and social media employees in the run-up to the 2020 election. FBI Supervisory Special Agent Elvis Chan stated in 2022 that officials from his agency and from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, regularly urged social media firms to remove certain accounts. Twitter also came under scrutiny after it banned links to a New York Post article on Hunter Biden’s Ukrainian business dealings, citing its hacked material policy, without providing evidence that the laptop was hacked.
Jordan is skeptical that Alphabet’s interactions with the federal government are any less concerning than those of Twitter, given how extensively the Executive Branch communicated and coordinated with technology companies regarding content moderation, a fact that was revealed in the release of the Twitter files. It remains to be seen what enforcement mechanisms Jordan may employ if Alphabet fails to produce the unredacted documents requested.