House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan on Monday subpoenaed the former head of President Joe Biden's short-lived Disinformation Governance Board after she failed to show up voluntarily.
Biden's appointment of writer and researcher Nina Jankowicz to the board drew fire immediately, with conservatives comparing the entity to the Ministry of Truth in George Orwell's dystopian novel, "1984."
Under mounting criticism, the board was scrapped just a few months after its creation. But that didn't keep conservatives from pointing to it as a prime example of the alleged weaponization of government against Biden critics.
Jankowicz is scheduled to give a closed-door deposition on April 10.
Two other people were subpoenaed by Jordan as well in connection with the ongoing weaponization probe, Bloomberg News reports. They are onetime National School Boards Association officials who pressed for a federal response to alleged threats towards school boards in 2021. Critics have contended that the push targeted conservatives and parents who were guilty of nothing more than challenging district policies and practices.
The subpoenas of former NSBA Interim Executive Director and CEO Chip Slaven and former NSBA President Viola Garcia note that their voluntary testimony was sought back in January, Axios reported.
"As the former Executive Director of the Board, you are uniquely situated to provide information that is relevant and necessary to inform the Committee's oversight and potential legislative reform," Jordan wrote to Jankowicz in a letter that accompanied her subpoena.
Jordan said the panel wants to see "how the Board intended to define disinformation, how it planned to collect information and from what sources, how it anticipated countering disinformation, and how it proposed to protect First Amendment rights," Breitbart reported.
The "Disinformation Governance Board" was established in early 2022 under the authority of the Department of Homeland Security. Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the board was an attempt by the United States to counter false claims encouraging migrants to try to illegally enter the country through the U.S.-Mexico border and to hit back at Russian disinformation efforts.
"The spread of disinformation can affect border security, Americans' safety during disasters, and public trust in our democratic institutions," Homeland Security said then.
But Republicans, including Jordan, said the board was anti-democratic and anti-American with its sights set on conservative Americans rather than foreign threats.
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, didn't go that far, but did call it "a terrible idea" that told the world the United States would be putting out propaganda.
Jankowicz resigned in May and Mayorkas disbanded the board in August.
Republicans' concerns included writings by Jankowicz about her worry that free speech absolutists "taking over more platforms" made her "shudder," Breitbart noted. She called for more law enforcement on speech.
She also cast doubt on the now-verified Hunter Biden laptop, calling it a "Trump campaign product." She also made the false claim that the GOP was behind the discredited Trump-Russia dossier.
Slaven and Garcia are facing closed-door depositions later this month.
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