Jan. 6 Rally Organizers Sue to Prevent Committee From Getting Their Phone Records

Organizers of the Jan. 6 rally, hoping to keep Congress from obtaining their cell phone data, have sue telecom giant Verizon. The plaintiffs include former White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney’s niece, Maggie Mulvaney, as well as Justin Caporale, Tim Unes, and Megan Powers.

The organizers of rally that preceded the riot at the Capitol argue in the suit that the subpoena from the House committee investigating Jan. 6 requesting cell phone records “lacks a lawful purpose and seeks to invade the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights to privacy and to confidential political communications.” The plaintiffs also claim that they “voluntarily sat for lengthy interviews and gave thousands of documents to congressional investigators” and “answered every single question.”

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“The plaintiffs are four private citizens who were not involved in any federal government activities or programs,” the suit reads. “They have only one apparent connection to the matter Congress claims to be investigating: They served as vendors to help staff a peaceful, lawful, orderly and patriotic assembly to promote First Amendment-protected speech.”

The committee subpoenaed the rally organizers in September, noting that they are seeking records related to the “planning, funding, and participation in the events and bus tours; social media activity of associated entities; and communications with or involvement of Trump Administration officials and lawmakers.”

The plaintiffs claim in their suit filed Monday that the House panel is not “a validly constituted committee” because it doesn’t have a legislative purpose. Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has also sued the committee to prevent his Verizon phone records from being turned over, although Meadows has already handed the committee records portion of his communications from that day. Those records include desperate texts to Meadows on Jan. 6 from people inside the Capitol. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) read aloud some of those messages moments before the committee voted to refer a recommendation that he be prosecuted for criminal contempt of Congress for his refusal to comply with his subpoena. The House is expected to vote on the contempt referral Tuesday.

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