Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), who serves as the chair of the House Oversight Committee, wrote a letter to Parler COO Jeffrey Wernickon Monday demanding that the social media platform reveal its investors and creditors.
“In the weeks leading up to the assault on the Capitol on January 6, Parler users actively took to the platform to call for violence and even ‘civil war,'” began Maloney in her letter.
“A recent analysis by USA Today shows a strong connection between President Trump’s speech at the January 6 rally and a significant uptick in calls for violence on Parler,” she added. “Immediately after President Trump exhorted his supporters to ‘show strength’ during his speech, the term ‘civil war’ surged into one of the top five most frequently used terms on Parler. One user wrote, ‘Be men fight back and f— them up. Civil war is upon us.'”
Maloney went on to mention that “since the attacks, numerous Parler users have been arrested and charged for their roles, with the Department of Justice citing in several instances the threats that individuals made through Parler in the days leading up to and following the attack.”
While Maloney targets Parler, however, she appears to take no interest in other social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, which protesters also used to organize and discuss their plans ahead of the Capitol Hill riot — according to FBI affidavits.
“Nothing will stop us….they can try and try and try but the storm is here and it is descending upon DC in less than 24 hours….dark to light!” wrote Ashli Babbitt on Twitter, one day before she was fatally shot by a police officer inside the Capitol Building.
And as for John Sullivan — the left-wing activist who was arrested and charged in connection to the Capitol Hill riot — he also had a Twitter account, and still has a YouTube account, which he used to post videos in which he can be heard encouraging protesters on Capitol Hill.
Moreover, a criminal complaint filed on Wednesday revealed that a search warrant was issued on a protester’s Facebook account, as mounting evidence suggests that individuals used Facebook to help organize the protest.
The DOJ has filed several charges against protesters who were using Facebook to plan their visit to Washington, DC.
But Maloney, nonetheless, has decided to hone in on Parler — the social media platform that skyrocketed in popularity among conservatives following Twitter permanently banning then-President Donald Trump.
In her letter, the congresswoman goes on to claim that Parler “allowed Russian disinformation to flourish on its platform prior to the November 2020 election, facilitating Russia’s campaign to sow chaos in the American electorate.”
“Individuals with ties to the January 6 assault should not — and must not — be allowed to hide behind the veil of anonymity provided by shell companies,” continued Maloney in her letter.
“In addition, according to a recent press report, the ‘Trump Organization negotiated on behalf of then-president Donald Trump to make Parler his primary social network, but it had a condition: an ownership stake in return for joining,'” she added. “These negotiations reportedly occurred while President Trump was still in office, which experts have warned raise legal concerns regarding anti-bribery laws.”
“Parler reportedly offered President Trump a 40% ownership stake, but the negotiations ‘were ultimately derailed by the events of January 6.'” wrote Maloney.
From there, the congresswoman said that the committee is making the following demands:
1. A capitalization table showing individuals and entities with direct or indirect ownership interests in Parler, and a shareholder register maintained by you or any third-party on your behalf
2. A list of all individuals and entities who have or had any control over Parler
3. A list of Parler’s creditors which hold or held a debt of at least $10,000, including the type of debt funding, amount owed, maturity, and applicable interest rate
4. All agreements, including but not limited to consulting, service, or business agreements, that Parler has with any Russian individual or entity
5. All documents and communications referring or relating to proposed or completed financing, gifts, or investment in Parler directly or indirectly by any Russian individual or entity
6. All documents and communications referring to relating to a proposal to provide President Donald Trump with an ownership stake in Parler
Last month, Maloney requested that the FBI probe Parler, claiming that it may have played a role in the Capitol Hill riot.
You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.
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