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EXCLUSIVE: Republican-led states are threatening legal action against Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) new “Disinformation Governance Board,” which they deem “un-American” and chilling to the free speech of Americans.
Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares is leading GOP attorneys general in sending a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas Thursday demanding that the department “cease taking action” contributing to a “chilling effect” on free speech.
“This is an unacceptable and downright alarming encroachment on every citizen’s right to express his or her opinions, engage in political debate, and disagree with the government,” write the 20 attorneys general in a letter exclusively obtained by Fox News Digital.
The Republicans raise concern with the timing of the board’s creation, saying it comes after the Biden administration has “flagged problematic posts” on social media and worked with Big Tech companies and the private sector to take down “misinformation” off its platforms.
Virginia Republican Attorney General candidate Jason Miyares (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
In addition, they say the timing is suspect due to Telsa CEO Elon Musk’s recent acquisition of Twitter, and his commitment to ensuring free speech and transparency on the platform.
“Suddenly, just as Elon Musk prepares to acquire Twitter with the stated purpose of correcting the platform’s censorship of free speech, you announce the creation of the Disinformation Governance Board. As the Biden Administration apparently loses a critical ally in its campaign to suppress speech it deems “problematic,” you have created a new government body to continue that work within the federal government,” says the letter to Mayorkas.
“The contemporaneous occurrence of these two events is hard to explain away as mere coincidence. It instead raises troubling questions about the extent of the Biden Administration’s practice of coordinating with private-sector companies to suppress disfavored speech.”
The attorneys general also state that “no statutory authority” exists to support the creation of the board, making it illegal.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testifies before the House Judiciary Committee, on Capitol Hill, Thursday, April 28, 2022, in Washington (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
They also take issue with the executive director of the board, Nina Jankowicz, who they say is “often in error but never in doubt,” pointing to her previous suggestions that Hunter Biden’s laptop was a product of a disinformation campaign and that the COVID-19 lab-leak theory was invented to help former President Trump politically.
“Unless you turn back now and disband this Orwellian Disinformation Governance Board immediately, the undersigned will have no choice but to consider judicial remedies to protect the rights of their citizens,” the attorneys general conclude.
Republican members of the House Homeland Security Committee also wrote a letter to Mayorkas Thursday, demanding DHS provide basic information to the committee including the disinformation board’s organization, members, schedule and recommendations.
“Your recent testimony and media statements regarding the board, as well as a recent briefing for Committee staff, have only created more questions and concern,” says the letter, led by Ranking Member Rep. Jon Katko, R-N.Y., and exclusively obtained by Fox News Digital.
The White House defended the DHS board, saying this week that it would operate in a “nonpartisan,” “apolitical” manner.
U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
“What this would do is continue [CISA’s] work, and it would help coordinate internal activities from the department related to disinformation that poses a threat to the homeland,” Psaki said Monday. “The mandate is not to adjudicate what is true or false, online or otherwise. It will operate in a nonpartisan and apolitical manner. It’s basically meant to coordinate a lot of the ongoing work that is happening.”
DHS did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment on the letter Thursday.