Jim Jordan threatens subpoena enforcement against Stanford as censorship probe ramps up

Congressman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) threatened Standford Univerisity in a blunt letter with subpoena enforcement for refusing to hand over information about how its Internet Observatory program “flags” so-called misinformation.

The letter was sent out on Thursday. Jordan in no uncertain terms informed Stanford’s legal team that the university provided “insufficient” compliance with an April subpoena for documents that are related to the Stanford Internet Observatory’s involvement in censoring “disfavored speech.”

The university has until June 14 to comply with Jordan’s demands, or the committee will “be forced to consider the use of one or more enforcement mechanisms.” The Daily Wire is reporting that these mechanisms could include “criminal contempt of Congress, civil enforcement, or ‘inherent contempt.’”

Republicans are hammering two projects from the Stanford Internet Observatory (SIO program) that use the Jira Ticketing System to flag alleged misinformation. The program was founded in 2019 and the two projects that conservatives are shredding are the Election Integrity Partnership (EIP) and the Virality Project (VP). Both of those projects were outed in parts 18 and 19 of the Twitter Files for working with the federal government to censor opinions as misinformation even if the information proved to be true. The projects dealt with voter fraud in the 2022 election and the COVID vaccine.

The Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government in the House Judiciary Committee wants answers regarding censorship on the social media platform. Jordan asserts that SIO knew about and helped implement that censorship.

“[I]ndividuals affiliated with SIO tracked both specific posts and entire ‘narratives’ through the Jira ticketing system and shared them, at a minimum, with large social media companies,” he remarked in the letter. “Public and non-public information obtained by the Committee confirms that large social media companies moderated content based upon these tickets and other information shared by Stanford personnel.”

Jordan said that his committee wants to see “all Jira tickets and related communications to social media companies, which document purportedly false content posted online.”

The Daily Wire goes on to report: “The chairman’s subpoena also demands communications between SIO and the Executive Branch related to content moderation dating back to January 2020 and documents about grants, contracts, and funds from the federal government dating back to January 2015.”

Jordan commented that the attorney representing Stanford, John Bellinger III of Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP, “confirmed” to committee staff in a recent call that the university does indeed have documents and communications related to the Jira tickets, but is refusing to produce them.

“You have represented that the basis for your refusal is that these documents and communications concern only a research project conducted by Stanford students,” Jordan wrote in the letter. “This description is inconsistent with information obtained by the Committee and available in the public domain, which suggests that the government and large social media platforms initiated and received information via these relevant documents.”

Michael Shellenberger, who reported on the groups for the Twitter Files, testified in front of the subcommittee accusing the Election Integrity Partnership of being the “seed of the censorship industrial complex.”

“They aren’t asking for a national debate over the limits of the First Amendment,” he scathingly contended. “Rather, they are creating blacklists of disfavored people and then pressuring, cajoling, and demanding that social media platforms censor, deamplify, and even ban the people on these blacklists.”

Shellenberger went on to charge that the Virality Project did the same thing concerning purported misinformation about COVID.

“[Virality Project] did the exact same kinds of censorship except focused on censoring COVID-19 information,” he claimed.

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