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Probe Launched Into State Department Censorship of Conservatives

Drew Angerer/Pool via AP

House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer announced an investigation into the State Department after it was revealed by the Washington Examiner the federal bureaucracy spent hundreds-of-millions in taxpayer dollars on censorship of conservative news outlets. 


“The Committee on Oversight and Accountability is investigating reports that federal funds administered by the Department of State were used to suppress lawful speech and defund disfavored news outlets under the guise of combatting disinformation. The Committee is disturbed by recent reporting that taxpayer money ended up in the hands of a foreign organization running an advertising blacklist of organizations accused of hosting disinformation on their websites, including several conservative-leaning news organizations. The Committee seeks documents and a staff-level briefing to understand the scope of the Department’s use of federal funds for a taxpayer-funded censorship campaign,” Comer wrote in a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken Thursday. 

"We continue to be concerned by efforts across the federal government to censor the lawful speech of Americans and discredit legitimate criticism as mis-, dis-, or mal- information, whether through the creation of a ‘Disinformation Governance Board,’ or labeling dissenting opinions as threats to critical infrastructure," the letter continues. "The federal government should not be censoring free speech nor policing what news outlets Americans choose to consume. And taxpayer funds should never be given to third parties with the intent that they be used to censor lawful speech or abridge the freedom of the press." 


Comer is asking for a number of State Department documents to be provided and for a briefing from Blinken to Committee staff by March 3. He's asking documents be provided to "enable oversight of the Department’s administration of funds flowing to organizations working to censor lawful speech and suppress press freedoms."

1. All documents and communications regarding any grant or other funding administered by the Department or organizations funded by the Department used to suppress so-called mis-, dis-, or mal- information of individuals or news organizations within the United States from January 20, 2021 to the present;

2. All documents and communications regarding any grant or other funding administered by the Department or organizations funded by the Department issued to the Global Disinformation Index;

3. All documents and communications between any Department employee, contractor, grantee, and any other individual, whether within or outside the federal government, referring or relating to any efforts to suppress so-called mis-, dis-, or mal- information uttered or hosted by any individual or organization within the United States;

4. All documents and communications sufficient to show the identities of any Department employees, contractors, or grantees whose duties included, at any point, encouraging a third party to take action against any individual or organization within the United States uttering or hosting content considered mis-, dis-, or mal- information by the Department or organizations funded by the Department.


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