(The Center Square) – As states push back against Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’ plan to combat “disinformation,” two attorneys general sued him, President Joe Biden, and other top officials over claims they colluded with social media companies to censor speech.
The attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana Monroe Division. They sued Biden, former press secretary Jen Psaki, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Mayorkas, the new director of DHS’ “Disinformation Governance Board” Nina Jankowicz, and others.
The attorneys general say Biden and his officials colluded with big tech companies, including Meta, Twitter, and Youtube, to censor truthful information about a range of issues – including the coronavirus, election integrity and Hunter Biden’s laptop – under the guise of combating “misinformation.”
Biden and his officials “coerced, threatened, and pressured social-media platforms to censor disfavored speakers and viewpoints by using threats of adverse government action,” and are “now directly colluding with social-media platforms to censor disfavored speakers and viewpoints,” the AGs argue. Doing so violates the First Amendment, the Administrative Procedure Act, and exceeds statutory authority, the AGs argue. DHS creating a disinformation board also violates federal statutes, the complaint, filed Thursday, alleges.
“In direct contravention to the First Amendment and freedom of speech, the Biden Administration has been engaged in a pernicious campaign to both pressure social media giants to censor and suppress speech and work directly with those platforms to achieve that censorship in a misguided and Orwellian campaign against ‘misinformation,’” Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt said.
“Big Tech has become an extension of Biden’s Big Government, and neither are protecting the freedoms of Americans; rather, they are suppressing truth and demonizing those who think differently,” Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said. “Ripped from the playbook of Stalin and his ilk, Biden has been colluding with Big Tech to censor free speech and propagandize the masses. We are fighting back to ensure the rule of law and prevent the government from unconstitutional banning, chilling, and stifling of speech.”