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Tags: comer | house | oversight | state department | gdi

Comer Demands Info on State Dept. Funding Group Blacklisting Conservatives

James Comer,
Rep. James Comer, R-Ky. (AP)

By    |   Thursday, 23 February 2023 12:27 PM EST

House Oversight and Accountability Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., is seeking information on the State Department's funding of a "disinformation" tracking group that's blacklisting conservative news outlets, the Washington Examiner reported.

Comer wants internal documents and a State Department briefing about Global Engagement Center (GEC) and National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which granted $665,000 combined to the Global Disinformation Index between 2020 and 2021.

The Global Disinformation Index (GDI), a British entity with two affiliated American nonprofit organizations, may be used to shut down conservative speech.

Comer, in a Thursday letter obtained by the Examiner, said GDI’s action were an "attack on the First Amendment."

"American taxpayer dollars should never be used to suppress our First Amendment rights protected in the U.S. Constitution," Comer told the Examiner.

"The fact that the State Department allowed federal funds to flow to foreign organizations who seek to blacklist American news organizations goes against our core values. Secretary [Antony] Blinken must provide the American people with answers about this abuse of taxpayer dollars."

Comer, House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and other House GOP members have continued to raise concerns over the State Department's ties to GDI.

GDI compiles a list of at least 2,000 websites that peddle alleged "disinformation" and stealthily feeds it to advertising companies. Newsmax and the Examiner join other right-leaning websites considered the "riskiest." They include the American Spectator, Newsmax, the Federalist, the American Conservative, One America News, the Blaze, the Daily Wire, RealClearPolitics, Reason, and the New York Post.

The list has "had a significant impact on [their] advertising revenue," according to GDI CEO Clare Melford, the Examiner reported.

The Examiner reported Monday that the NED said it will no longer provide grants to GDI.

Although grants for 2020 and 2021 totaling $545,000 already have been spent by GDI, NED wants "to avoid the perception that NED is engaged in any work domestically, directly or indirectly."

GEC administered another State Department-linked grant to GDI worth $100,000, the Examiner reported.

Comer’s committee is probing reports that federal funds administered by the State Department "were used to suppress lawful speech and defund disfavored news outlets under the guise of combatting disinformation," the chairman wrote in his letter.

"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."

Comer wants documents by March 9 and a briefing by March 2, the Examiner said. He’s demanding records on any State Department grants or funding "used to suppress" news organizations in the U.S. and on funding to GDI, as well as documents and communications between government employees, contractors, grantees, or "any other individual" overseas or in the U.S. "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."

He also wants records showing the identities of any people who may have been "encouraging a third party to take action" against people or groups in the U.S.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


Newsfront
House Oversight and Accountability Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., is seeking information on the State Department's funding of a "disinformation" tracking group that's blacklisting conservative news outlets, the Washington Examiner reported.
comer, house, oversight, state department, gdi
515
2023-27-23
Thursday, 23 February 2023 12:27 PM
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