Federal judge orders RNC to hand over Donald Trump's 2020 fundraising data to House January 6th panel

Federal judge orders RNC to hand over Donald Trump's 2020 fundraising data to House January 6th panel
Former President Donald Trump speaking at a MAGA rally in Florence, Arizona in January 2022, Gage Skidmore

A federal judge has rejected efforts by the Republican National Committee (RNC) to keep its mass email marketing records from the House Select Committee investigating the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

The committee is seeking records held by business software company Salesforce in connection with its work with former President Donald Trump's 2020 reelection campaign to determine if Trump's fund-raising emails encouraged the violence of the mob that tried to prevent confirmation of Joe Biden as the duly-elected president, according to the Washington Post, which described the judge's ruling as a "thorough victory" for the January 6 committee.

U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Kelly of Washington rejected the RNC’s claims that its and the Trump campaign’s information was protected under the First Amendment. Kelly also affirmed the committee's Constitutionally-granted legislative power to obtain the records and found that judges cannot interfere with how lawmakers obtain and use information.

Kelly's ruling late Sunday temporarily blocks Salesforce from releasing any records to the House before Wednesday to give the national GOP committee time to appeal. The RNC sued the committee in early March seeking to quash the subpoena it had issued to Salesforce on Feb. 23.

“It is hard to imagine a more important interest for Congress than to preserve its own ability to carry out specific duties assigned to it under the Constitution,” Kelly wrote in a 53-page opinion issued shortly before midnight. “To repeat: according to the Select Committee, its investigation and public reporting suggest that claims that the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent or stolen motivated some who participated in the attack, and emails sent by the RNC and the Trump campaign using Salesforce’s platform spread those claims.”

One email, sent an hour before rioters breached police lines at the Capitol that day urged supporters to “FIGHT BACK,” under another header stating, “This is our LAST CHANCE.”

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