Republicans push bill that expands Hatch Act to prevent Biden administration officials from censoring speech
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EXCLUSIVE: Three top Republicans are pushing new legislation that would expand the Hatch Act to prevent Biden administration officials from using their official positions of power to influence censorship of speech by social media companies.
James Comer, ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, Jim Jordan, ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, and Cathy McMorris Rodgers, ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, authored the “Free Speech Protection Act from Government Interference”.
The proposed bill would expand the Hatch Act, a law that prevents federal employees from engaging in political activities while working in their official capacities. It would make any form of censorship by a federal government official “unlawful federal personnel activity subject to disciplinary action” and expand restrictions on “senior federal officials,” including political appointees, from engaging in censorship as well in their personal capacities. .
Lawmakers point to some recent examples they say are evidence that Biden administration officials are using their positions to influence and censor speech on major social media platforms.
WHITE HOUSE, SURGEON GENERAL ‘MARKS’ FACEBOOK POSTS FOR MODERATION, PSAKI SAYS
Former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said during a press conference in July 2021 that once users are banned from a social media platform for spread of the coronavirus “disinformation”, they should also be kicked out from everyone else.
“We’re flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread misinformation. We’re working with doctors and medical experts … who are popular with their audience with accurate information,” he said at the time. “So we’re helping to get trusted content.”
Additionally, Psaki said in February that the White House wants Big Tech companies to do “more” to suppress “disinformation” on their platforms.
separately, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook recently admitted that his company censored news articles about President Hunter’s son after the FBI contacted him before the 2020 election.
GRASSLEY, JOHNSON ASK FACEBOOK TO CHANGE COMMUNICATIONS WITH FBI ON HUNTER BIDEN STORY
As a result, Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Ron Johnson, R-Wis., asked Facebook this week to turn over communications between government agencies and Facebook employees about Hunter Biden.
“The Biden Administration is using the heavy hand of government to pressure social media companies to censor Americans’ free speech and the news shared on their platforms.” Comer, R-Ky., told Fox News Digital.
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“From COVID-19 to Hunter Biden, Biden Administration officials are quick to label facts that don’t fit their narrative as disinformation, then pressure social media companies to delete content on their platforms. This threatens Americans’ First Amendment rights. To protect free speech, our bill prevents the Swamp from pressuring social media companies to silence ordinary Americans,” he continued to eat
“Big Tech platforms have become the modern town square, and any effort to erase people from these digital spaces simply for not adhering to the woke liberal agenda is unconstitutional,” added McMorris Rodgers, R – Wash.
Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer and David Rutz contributed to this report.