A group of Republican attorneys general warned of legal action against the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) new Disinformation Governance Board, stating that “no statutory authority” exists to back its creation.
“No statutory authority exists to support your creation of a board of government censors,” reads the letter to Mayorkas.
“Although Congress has considered a variety of measures to address the perceived dangers of ‘disinformation’ in the United States, none has passed. Instead, while the people’s elected representatives continue to debate this issue, you have arrogated to yourself the power to address it without congressional authorization, despite the far-reaching effects of the Disinformation Governance Board on Americans and our political process.”
Calling it “an unacceptable and downright alarming encroachment” on civil rights of free expression, the Republican attorneys general specified in the letter “a chilling effect” that it can bring about nationwide.
“Americans will hesitate before they voice their constitutionally protected opinions, knowing that the government’s censors may be watching, and some will decide it is safer to keep their opinions to themselves.”
Republican members of Congress have already called for the board to be disbanded, before attorneys general threatened legal action in their latest message.
“This is unconstitutional, illegal, and un-American,” the Thursday letter concludes. “Unless you turn back now and disband this Orwellian Disinformation Governance Board immediately, the undersigned will have no choice but to consider judicial remedies to protect the rights of their citizens,” the group said.
TimingThe GOP attorneys general also went after what they called “highly suspect” timing of the DHS’s announcement of the board a week ago, following Elon Musk's Twitter buyout with the stated purpose to pursue free speech.
The Biden administration has been “flagging problematic posts” on social media by its own admission and engaged with Big Techs and private sectors to prevent “disinformation,” the group noted in the letter.
“As [it] apparently loses a critical ally in its campaign to suppress speech it deems ‘problematic,’ you have created a new government body to continue that work within the federal government,” the attorneys general said.
“The contemporaneous occurrence of these two events is hard to explain away as mere coincidence. It instead raises troubling questions about the extent of the Biden Administration’s practice of coordinating with private-sector companies to suppress disfavored speech.”
The appointment of the executive director of the board, Nina Jankowicz, flagged a “clearer illustration,” according to the letter.