Two state attorneys general filed a motion in a free speech lawsuit on Monday, citing more than 1,400 facts from internal government documents, to prevent Biden administration officials from colluding with social media companies to censor users.
“This case involves some of the most egregious First Amendment violations in American history,” Attorneys General Andrew Bailey of Louisiana and Jeff Landry of Missouri argue in their motion (pdf).
Their lawsuit, Missouri v. Biden, accuses senior officials from the White House and several federal agencies of a widespread and unconstitutional campaign to censor disfavored speech and viewpoints on social media platforms.
In the motion, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, the attorneys argue that federal officials from the White House and several other agencies used “pressure, threats, coercion, cajoling, collusion, demands, and trickery and deceit” to influence the Big Tech platforms to censor users.
“The proof of this sprawling federal ‘Censorship Enterprise’ is voluminous and overwhelming,” they add.
The attorneys general say the internal government documents they received outline 1,432 facts showing how federal officials allegedly coerced and collaborated with Big Tech companies to stifle debate and criticism of government policy on social media about some of the most pressing issues of our time.
“This case is the most important free speech lawsuit in a generation, as we highlight more than 1,400 facts showing the Biden Administration’s blatant coercion and collusion with Big Tech social media companies to suppress speech it disagrees with,” Bailey said in a statement. “I will not rest until the court blocks unelected bureaucrats from violating our constitutional right to free and open debate.”
Internal Federal Documents
Summarizing critical points from nearly 400 pages (pdf) proposing facts to support their injunction, the attorneys general argue that internal government documents show that federal officials and agencies, including White House officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), allegedly pressured social media platforms to censor disfavored viewpoints.
Dr. Anthony Fauci is accused of orchestrating a campaign to induce social media platforms to censor particular views. The FBI is also alleged to have deceived social media platforms into censoring the Hunter Biden laptop story. The Election Integrity Partnership and the Virality Project are also said to monitor and censor large amounts of Americans’ words on social media.
The court filings name White House officials such as Rob Flaherty, Andrew Slavitt, and Jennifer Psaki as having allegedly pressured social media platforms to censor frowned-upon viewpoints. It also accuses Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and his staff of allegedly coordinating closely with the White House in this pressure campaign.
The CDC is accused of flagging specific social media posts for censorship and organizing BOLO (be on the lookout) meetings to tell platforms what should be censored. The attorneys general say the CDC acted “as the definitive fact-checker with final authority to dictate exactly what speech will be removed from social media.”
Further, Dr. Anthony Fauci allegedly orchestrated “an elaborate campaign of trickery and deception” to induce social media platforms to censor the COVID-19 lab leak theory and other viewpoints he disfavors.
The FBI is also accused of deliberately planting false information about a “hack-and-leak” operation to deceive social media platforms into censoring the Hunter Biden laptop story.
‘Overwhelming Evidence’ of Collusion
According to the attorneys general, the FBI, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and the State Department’s Global Engagement Center (GEC) allegedly collaborated with social media platforms in hundreds of meetings to flag large amounts of First Amendment-protected speech for censorship.
State and local governments also allegedly reported misinformation to CISA, which the agency is accused of relaying to platforms for censorship.
Further, according to the attorneys general, enormous volumes of Americans’ speech on social media were allegedly monitored, tracked, and censored via the Election Integrity Partnership, a collaboration between the government, platforms, and activist nonprofits. This is along with the Virality Project, which is accused of pushing for the censorship of large quantities of First Amendment-protected speech.
“The overwhelming evidence is clear: the highest levels of our federal government are suppressing the First Amendment rights of Americans who have opposing views,” Landry said in a statement. “This egregious and unlawful viewpoint censorship by the White House, FBI, CDC, CISA, and other agencies not only chills speech, but it also unjustly inflicts grave and irreparable injuries on citizens and states, whose duty it is to protect their fundamental rights.”
Missouri v. Biden was filed on May 5, 2022, and the attorneys filed a motion for discovery on June 17, 2022, granted on July 12, 2022, allowing them to gather discovery and documents from the Biden administration and social media companies.
They have deposed top-ranking officials in the federal government under oath, including Fauci, FBI Special Agent Elvis Chan, and Eric Waldo of the Surgeon General’s Office, among others.
Bailey and Landry told the court that the federal government’s censorship activities constitute a “gargantuan federal ‘Censorship Enterprise.’”
“This enterprise is highly effective—it has stifled debate and criticism of government policy on social media about some of the most pressing issues of our time. And its activities are flagrantly unconstitutional,” the attorneys general say in the motion.
The Epoch Times contacted the White House for comment but has not received a reply before this article was published.