Letter - Communications and Technology Updates

Nov 21, 2023

E&C Republicans Demand Answers from TikTok over Terrorist and Antisemitic Content

Washington D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Communications and Technology Subcommittee Vice Chair Buddy Carter (R-GA), and 23 other Republican Committee members sent a letter to TikTok demanding answers regarding how the Chinese Communist Party is using the app as a tool to surveil and manipulate Americans.  From the letter: “ Disturbingly, millions of TikTok users have recently viewed videos glorifying Osama Bin Laden’s ‘Letter to America,’ which attempts to justify his horrific murder of 3,000 Americans in the September 11, 2001, attacks while also perpetuating ‘the antisemitic trope claiming the Jews ‘control your policies, media and economy.’” Key excerpts from exclusive reporting by FOX NEWS : “ A group of House Republicans is demanding more transparency from TikTok about how content is amplified and how much insight China has into those processes as accusations mount against the social platform that it’s boosting antisemitic videos. “‘On October 7, the Palestinian terrorist organization, Hamas, brutally attacked Israel and killed more than 1,400 people. Since this terrorist attack, disinformation related to the conflict has run rampant on your platform, stoking antisemitism, support, and sympathy for Hamas,’ they wrote to TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew. “The letter is being led by Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Ga. It comes just days after TikTok was under fire for facilitating a surge in viral videos expressing support for Usama bin Laden’s 2002 'Letter to America' written in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.” […] “National security hawks have been wary of TikTok’s connection to China, with its parent company ByteDance being based in Beijing.” […] “The lawmakers are demanding to know how many employees at TikTok have connections to ByteDance, how the platform screens for misinformation and anti-Israel content amid the conflict with Hamas, and how its algorithms are curated, among other queries. “‘Given that roughly half of TikTok’s U.S. user base is under 25 years old, American youth are being exposed to extremely violent and disturbing images and videos," they wrote. "This deluge of pro-Hamas content is driving hateful antisemitic rhetoric and violent protests on campuses across the country. The CCP has already co-opted your platform, and it seems TikTok and TikTok’s employees are resigned to becoming a mouthpiece for antisemites, terrorists, and propaganda.’” ICYMI: In October, Chair Rodgers called on multiple tech companies, including TikTok, to brief the Energy and Commerce Committee on their moderation policies regarding the spread of illegal content posted by Hamas. CLICK HERE to read the full letter. CLICK HERE to read the Fox News story on the letter.

Chairs Rodgers and Latta Request Briefing from Mayor Bowser on Systemic Failures of D.C. Emergency Communications Services

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chair Bob Latta (R-OH) sent a letter to Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser requesting information regarding the District’s chronic issues and mismanagement of the 9-1-1 emergency communications system.   KEY EXCERPT:   “Slow responses, missed calls, and staffing shortages have had tragic consequences and will continue to endanger lives unless remedied. The OUC [Office of Unified Communications] has a record of grave mistakes that have contributed to the deaths of adults, children, and animals. The OUC sent firefighters to the wrong address for a report of a newborn in cardiac arrest, canceled a call for service about a child unconscious in a hot car, and mischaracterized a handful of emergency calls. Washington, D.C. recently reached a staggering 200 homicides for this year, further emphasizing the importance of accurate and rapid emergency medical services (EMS) response.   BACKGROUND: The Washington, D.C. Office of Unified Communications (OUC) has a record of grave mistakes that have contributed to the deaths of adults, children, and animals.  On April 20, 2023, the 9-1-1 call center mistakenly dispatched emergency crews to the wrong location after a car plunged into the Anacostia River near the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge. As a result, emergency crews did not arrive on the scene until nearly 16 minutes after the initial call came in regarding the accident.  On August 14, 2023, during a heavy rainstorm, a miscoding by a 9-1-1 dispatcher resulted in the tragic death of 10 dogs at a northeast D.C. dog daycare center due to flooding.  These are just several recent examples of the failures by the OUC that have gone unaddressed for years.  A recent report revealed that 40 percent of D.C. 9-1-1 center shifts were understaffed during the month of August, leading to wait times for callers, including several who were kept on hold for three or four minutes.  The OUC has also failed to implement urgent audit recommendations, including from a 2021 audit that described “inadequate supervision of call-taking and dispatch operations […] and insufficient management follow-up on after-action reviews.” Further, the audit’s review of priority medical calls from September 2021 to August 2022 revealed the OUC was not meeting national standards on “time-to-answer” measures or “answer to notification” on about half of incoming calls.   In 2020, Committee Republicans sent a letter to Mayor Bowser regarding similar safety concerns, which never received a response.  These delays and failures of the District’s 9-1-1 services can mean the difference between life and death for Washington, D.C. residents, and must be resolved. CLICK HERE to read the full letter, which asked for a response by November 17 to the requests for a copy of the 2021 OUC audit and a briefing on any changes that the OUC will take to correct these failures.

E&C GOP to Rosenworcel: “The Net Neutrality Debate was Settled When the Internet Didn’t Break”

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), along with Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chair Bob Latta (R-OH), today sent a letter signed by every E&C Republican Member to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chair Jessica Rosenworcel ahead of the agency’s planned vote on a proposed rulemaking on net neutrality, which the FCC lacks the authority to impose.  BACKGROUND:   On September 26, 2023, the FCC announced plans to vote to reclassify fixed and mobile broadband as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934.   If enacted, this would open the door to burdensome regulations that would weaken services for Americans, stifle innovation, jeopardize U.S. communications leadership, and potentially allow the FCC to regulate broadband rates.  This is in stark contrast with FCC Chair Rosenworcel’s previous testimony to the committee when she said there would be “no rate regulation.” It also contradicts information released by her office just last month, which reiterated that “policies like rate regulation [. . .] would be strictly prohibited.”  Furthermore, American broadband services have outperformed predictions made by Title II proponents after its repeal in 2017. Despite fearmongering, the Internet was not killed and we are not receiving it one word at a time.   In contrast to this fearmongering, American broadband networks have thrived under the current light-touch regulatory environment, providing people with faster internet speeds and lower prices.  KEY EXCERPTS ON THE SUCCESS OF CURRENT BROADBAND REGULATIONS:   “American broadband networks have thrived under the current light-touch regulatory framework. Investment in our networks has reached record highs, giving consumers faster speeds and lower prices. Indeed, since 2017, the cost of broadband (adjusted for inflation) has fallen while prices for electricity, water, and sewage have grown four to five times faster than prices for broadband. And these networks perform remarkably well, as shown during the Covid-19 pandemic. When work, school, and staying connected with loved ones moved online, traffic over our broadband networks spiked—reaching over 27 percent more than pre-pandemic levels. American broadband networks withstood this increased traffic without interruption. This is unlike what happened in Europe, where heavy-handed regulations, similar to those you now propose, meant that networks could not bear the increased use, causing regulators to ask sites like Netflix and YouTube to degrade and throttle their service.    “Heavy-handed, utility-style regulation is not meant for today’s broadband market. Congress enacted Title II in 1934 to address a telephone market dominated by one company. In contrast, today’s broadband market is increasingly competitive—there is competition among different providers offering service via a variety of technologies. Further, your decision to forebear from twenty-seven provisions in Title II and over 700 regulations underscores that the Title II regime is not appropriate for broadband. You would not need to perform these legal gymnastics to make Title II work if Congress meant for it to apply. It clearly did not, as broadband service did not exist in its current form in 1934 or 1996, the last time the Communications Act was comprehensively updated. Forbearance also raises its own concerns because it is temporary. A future FCC could reverse this forbearance, exposing broadband providers to these burdensome regulations.”   CLICK HERE to read the full letter to FCC Chair Rosenworcel.  CLICK HERE to read the statement from Chairs Rodgers and Latta on the FCC’s decision to revive the net neutrality debate.

Oct 12, 2023
Press Release

Chairs Rodgers and Latta Call on NTIA Administrator to Prioritize Closing the Digital Divide and Connecting Every American

Washington, D.C. — As states begin submitting applications for Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program funding, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chair Bob Latta (R-OH) called on National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information, Alan Davidson, to ensure states are abiding by the law and using resources to achieve universal broadband and connect every American. BACKGROUND: In 2021, Congress provided $65 billion to close the digital divide.   NTIA is responsible for administering most of this money, including the $42.45 billion BEAD program, which provides states grant money to award providers to deploy broadband networks in unserved and underserved areas.  States are required to submit five-year action plans and initial proposals to NTIA outlining how they plan to use the resources.  Unfortunately, some states have claimed they do not have enough funding to achieve universal connectivity, attempted to overbuild or refuse to consider services provided by certain technologies—like fixed wireless—in their proposals, as well as taken steps to regulate broadband rates, which is explicitly prohibited by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).   At the committee’s NTIA oversight hearing in May, NTIA Administrator Davidson said the agency “will not approve plans that don't show us how they're going to connect everybody in the state.”  Given the concerning proposals from some states, the Chairs called on Administrator Davidson to affirm his commitment to refrain from sending resources to states whose plans would not achieve universal connectivity or would set broadband rates.  KEY QUOTE: “Congress provided a record amount of funding for the BEAD program, so it is frustrating to hear states claim that this is not enough money or try to exclude certain technologies that will help them achieve universal connectivity. This massive investment in broadband will not come again, nor should it be necessary. We recognize that serving every unserved household with this money will require making tough choices, but thankfully, a variety of technologies, including fixed wireless and satellite, can help achieve universal connectivity at different costs. Indeed, that is why the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) requires the program to use all available technologies. Thus, if a state is following the law and remaining technology-neutral, there is no excuse for it to assert it lacks sufficient funding to serve every household following this program.” CLICK HERE to read the full letter.  CLICK HERE to watch NTIA Assistant Secretary Davidson testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee.   ICYMI on July 27, 2023, the committee passed legislation to reauthorize the NTIA to enhance internet services across the country and ensure America continues to be a global communications and technology leader.  

May 10, 2023
Press Release

E&C Leaders Continue Bipartisan Investigation into Data Brokers' Potential Exploitation of Americans' Privacy

Members press companies to answer what information is collected and where it is sold Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans, led by Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Committee Democrats, led by Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), today wrote to the heads of data broker companies, requesting information to help the Committee protect Americans’ data from misuse. They were joined by Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chair Morgan Griffith (R-VA) and Ranking Member Kathy Castor (D-FL), Subcommittee on Innovation, Data and Commerce Chair Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and Ranking Member Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Subcommittee on Health Chair Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and Ranking Member Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA), and Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Chair Bob Latta (R-OH) and Ranking Member Doris Matsui (D-CA).  BACKGROUND:   The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations launched a bipartisan investigation at a hearing on April 19, 2023, titled “Who is Selling Your Data: A Critical Examination of the Role of Data Brokers in the Digital Economy.”  Data brokers purchase, collect, aggregate, license, sell, or otherwise share a wide range of information from Americans, including but not limited to demographic, location, and health data.  These companies profit from trading in Americans’ personal information, including sensitive information, often with little government oversight and in some cases, without any concern for how buyers use the consumer data that they purchase from brokers.  A recent study from Duke University found, for example, that “some data brokers are marketing highly sensitive data on individuals’ mental health conditions on the open market, with seemingly minimal vetting of customers and seemingly few controls on the use of purchased data.”  KEY EXCERPT:   “American privacy concerns in the data broker industry are not new, and existing laws do not sufficiently protect Americans’ data from misuse. In 2014, the FTC issued a report recommending that Congress require data brokers to increase transparency and give Americans more control of their data. However, data brokers can easily circumvent existing rules and laws regarding the collection and sharing of certain types of data, such as HIPAA.   “Enacting a comprehensive federal privacy law is a top priority for the Committee on Energy and Commerce. Currently, Americans do not have control over whether and where their personal data is sold and shared; they have no guaranteed way to access, delete, or correct their data; and, they have no ability to stop the unchecked collection of their sensitive personal information. According to the Electronic Privacy Information Center, the overcollection and secondary uses of personal data, including the sale to and use by data brokers, are inconsistent with the reasonable expectations of online consumers and may lead to discriminatory targeting that violates the privacy and autonomy of consumers.”  The leaders asked the companies for information pertinent to helping the Committee understand how data brokers purchase, collect, use, license, and sell Americans’ data, including:  What data elements do you possess on Americans and market to your clients?   In particular, do you possess any of the following:  Americans’ health data? If yes, what kind of health data?  Americans’ location data? If yes, what data elements?  Americans’ phone data, such as data on any apps downloaded on their mobile devices? If yes, what data elements?  Information revealing Americans’ purchase history? If yes, what data elements?  Information about children under the age of 13?  Information about children between the ages of 13 and 18?  Are there any categories of Americans’ personal information that you will not purchase, collect, aggregate, license, or sell and, if so, what categories are those?  When you license, sell, or otherwise share Americans’ personal information with your clients, do you require your clients to disclose the purpose(s) for which they will use the data?   If so, what do you do, if anything, to confirm they are using the data for the stated purpose(s)?  How much money did you spend in each of the past five years on purchasing or licensing Americans’ personal information?  What percentage of your annual revenue for each of the past five years was derived from selling or licensing Americans’ personal information?  How many clients did you sell or license Americans’ personal information to?  Does your company use the personal information of Americans that you purchase, collect, or aggregate to categorize people based on income, sex, age, race, or other categories?  What steps, if any, does your company take to protect data of users under eighteen?  When you become aware that you or your clients have transferred Americans’ personal information to a foreign adversary or a company beholden to a foreign adversary—currently defined by the Secretary of Commerce to include China, Russia, North Korea, Cuba, the Maduro regime in Venezuela, and Iran—do you notify the individual(s) whose personal information has been transferred or any U.S. government entity? If not, why not?  You can view the letters below:  Acxiom LLC AtData Babel Street   CoreLogic Solutions, LLC   Epsilon Data Management, LLC Equifax   Experian   Gravy Analytics, Inc. Intelius, LLC Kochava Inc. LiveRamp, Inc. Mylife   Oracle America, Inc.   PeopleConnect, Inc.   RELX Safegraph Inc. Spokeo, Inc.   Thomson Reuters   TransUnion   Verisk Analytics   Whitepages, Inc.

Rodgers and Cruz Request Answers from FCC on Action Effectively Blocking Planned Standard General Acquisition of TEGNA

Washington, D.C. – House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and U.S. Senate Commerce Committee Ranking Member Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) are seeking answers to a decision by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that effectively blocks the Standard General-TEGNA transaction. In a  letter  sent today to FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel, the lawmakers want to know why the FCC broke Commission rules and precedent in sending the transaction to an Administrative Law Judge for review without a Commission-level vote. Chair Rodgers and Ranking Member Cruz wrote: “On February 24, 2023, Standard General’s plans to acquire TEGNA’s 61 full-power TV stations and two full-power radio stations were thwarted when the FCC’s Media Bureau, purportedly acting under Commission-delegated authority, issued a Hearing Designation Order (“HDO”) that referred the transaction to an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) hearing. In the past 30 years, no broadcast license transfer has gone through the hearing process in less than 358 days (the average time is 799 days). With the deadline for financing of the Standard General-TEGNA deal expiring on May 22, 2023, the Media Bureau’s action effectively kills the transaction. “The Media Bureau’s decision to send the transaction to an ALJ hearing violates Commission rules and precedents in several ways. First, to keep the Commission accountable to Congress and the public, a full Commission vote is required for certain matters, particularly those involving novel issues and/or significant legal or policy consequences. Designating a multi-billion-dollar transaction such as the Standard General-TEGNA transaction for an ALJ hearing is precisely the type of serious decision for which commissioners must take responsibility. The last time the FCC referred a major transaction to an ALJ, the decision was made at the Commission level, and the FCC should not have departed from that precedent. Second, the Media Bureau’s HDO relied on novel interpretations of the Commission’s public interest standard and appeared to ignore—if not contradict—the Commission’s precedent that ‘an increase in retransmission consent rates, by itself’ does not constitute a public interest harm. Third, under Commission precedent, the Media Bureau should have provided the full Commission 48 hours’ notice before issuing the HDO on February 24, 2023. It did not.” Chair Rodgers and Ranking Member Cruz also raised concerns regarding previous reporting suggesting that a former TEGNA bidder’s political connections with influential Democrats may have played a role in the FCC’s decision to stray from precedent, writing: “Given these departures from precedent, it is no surprise that the decision has raised questions about the Commission’s fairness. According to numerous public reports, outside interests pushed Commission officials to block this transaction in order to pave the way for an alternative buyer, namely Byron Allen. For example, the Wall Street Journal reported that Mr. Allen’s Allen Media Group had previously tried, unsuccessfully, to acquire TEGNA in the fall of 2021. Coincidentally, Mr. Allen is a major Democratic donor. In 2021, he donated $2,900 to Nancy Pelosi’s campaign fund, $5,000 to PAC to the Future, $44,000 to the Nancy Pelosi Victory Fund, and $255,500 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, among others. After the Standard General-TEGNA transaction was announced in 2022, he donated $250,000 to the House Majority PAC and $100,000 to the Senate Majority PAC. Some have observed that the well-connected Mr. Allen is ‘the most likely beneficiary if the Standard General deal falls through.’” In addition, Chair Rodgers and Ranking Member Cruz request the FCC give details about previous Hearing Designation Orders involving similar matters and specifics regarding the FCC’s handling of the Standard General-TEGNA transaction, including whether or not anyone in the chairwoman’s office had any contact with Byron Allen or anyone affiliated with Allen Media Group. The full text of the letter is available HERE . 

E&C Republicans Demand Accountability on Biden’s Massive Spending and Inflation Agenda

American People Deserve Full Accounting of Funds   Washington, D.C. —  House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy Rodgers (R-WA) and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chair Morgan Griffith (R-VA), along with the chairs of the subcommittee of jurisdiction, today wrote letters to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Department of Energy (DOE), Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), requesting a full accounting of how they’ve spent taxpayer dollars. KEY LETTER EXCERPT : “Over the past two years, under one-party, Democratic rule, Congress and the Biden administration have spent trillions of dollars across the federal government. Beginning with the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and most recently with the so-called Inflation Reduction Act (IRA),  Democrats have funneled an excessive amount of taxpayer dollars to advance their radical, progressive agenda and to benefit their political allies. The American people deserve a full, transparent, and regular accounting of the funds  that have been spent, where the funds have gone, who has benefited, and how much remains.”  The Chairs specifically requested funding information from: ARPA, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), the CHIPS and Science Act, and the IRA, including but not limited to:  1. The total amount of funding from each Act that has been obligated to date. 2. A list of each financial award funded, in part or in full, by these laws, including the following information for each award: a.    All recipients for which funding has been expended. b.    All recipients for which funding has been obligated. c.     The amount of funding that has been obligated for each recipient. d.    A description of the project funded. e.    The type of award (i.e., grant, loan, etc.). 3. The number, job title, compensation, and duties of any employees, contractors, or consultants who have been hired or engaged using the funding, in whole or in part. 4. An accounting of the funds that have not yet been obligated. CLICK HERE  to read the letter from Chairs Rodgers and Griffith and Subcommittee on Energy, Climate, and Grid Security Chair Jeff Duncan (R-SC) to DOE Secretary Jennifer Granholm regarding more the than $100 billion above annual appropriations and the more than 60 new programs created with little Congressional scrutiny of long-term taxpayer risks.  CLICK HERE  to read the letter from Chairs Rodgers and Griffith and Health Subcommittee Chair Brett Guthrie (R-KY) to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra requesting information related to:  The IRA’s Implementation Fund designed to carry out the law’s drug pricing provisions  The Provider Relief Fund has had $178 billion appropriated into it  Vaccine Education Funding, which includes more than a billion dollars  Funding appropriated COVID-19 Vaccines, Therapeutics, Testing, and Supplies, which the Biden administration rerouted billions to other programs—like housing illegal immigrants at the border—before asking Congress for additional resources  CLICK HERE   to read the letter from Chairs Rodgers and Griffith and Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Chair Bob Latta (R-OH) to FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel requesting information related to:  $98 million to implement the Broadband DATA Act, as well as the status of the broadband map development   $450 million for the COVID-19 telehealth program $3.2 billion for the Emergency Broadband Benefit   $7.17 billion for the Emergency Connectivity Fund program  $14.2 billion for the Affordable Broadband Benefit  CLICK HERE   to read the letter from Chairs Rodgers, Griffith and Latta to NTIA Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information Alan Davidson requesting information related to: $300 million for the Broadband Infrastructure Program  $3 billion for tribal broadband deployment  $285 million for the Connecting Minority Communities Program $42.45 billion for the Broadband, Equity, Accessibility, and Deployment (BEAD) Program $2.75 billion for digital equity grants $1 billion for middle mile infrastructure

Feb 23, 2023
Press Release

E&C GOP Chairs Lay Out Expectations for Biden Agency Cooperation

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy Rodgers (R-WA), Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Chair Bob Latta (R-OH), Subcommittee on Health Chair Brett Guthrie (R-KY), Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chair Morgan Griffith (R-VA), Subcommittee on Innovation, Data, and Commerce Chair Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Subcommittee on Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials Chair Bill Johnson (R-OH), and Subcommittee on Energy, Climate, and Grid Security Jeff Duncan (R-SC) wrote to the heads of the Department of Energy, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Department of Commerce laying out expectations for intergovernmental cooperation regarding oversight. As Chair Rodgers said in the full committee markup of Energy and Commerce’s Authorization and Oversight Plan for the 118th Congress, “We have a responsibility to conduct oversight to get answers on behalf of those we serve and to ensure accountability so the government is responsive to the American people.” The members outline the below seven principles for each agency or department to comply with Congressional requests and provide answers the American people deserve. 1. For all requests or questions, please reproduce the requests or questions presented in a written letter with the department or agency response. 2. In the spirit of comity and inter-branch accommodation, your department or agency should endeavor to cooperate as much as possible with committee oversight requests. If your department or agency has determined it will not voluntarily cooperate with the requests, please provide electronic written notice within two business days specifying which requests you are declining to cooperate with and the stated reasons for voluntary noncooperation. 3. Your department or agency should make a determination on whether certain requests cannot be fulfilled as presented. Provide electronic written notice within one business week of receipt of the request about such determinations, stating the reasons why. If there is an alternative approach that could address the Committee’s request, then such an alternative approach should be suggested in the interests of comity and inter-branch accommodation. 4. If the department or agency needs clarification about a Committee request, your staff should make good faith efforts to contact Committee staff for assistance as soon as possible. 5. We expect your department or agency to provide a written response to our oversight requests within two weeks of receipt of the letter. If the department or agency needs additional time to respond to Committee requests, your staff should make good faith efforts to contact Committee staff for assistance as soon as possible. 6. If your department or agency has determined that certain requested documents cannot be produced pursuant to a privilege or other legal basis, your department or agency should submit an index of the withheld documents and the privilege asserted within two business weeks of receipt of the request letter. 7. If your department has determined that a requested witness cannot be made available pursuant to a privilege or other legal basis, your department or agency should submit in writing an explanation of the privilege or other legal basis asserted within two business weeks of receipt of the request letter. CLICK HERE to view the letter to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm. CLICK HERE to view the letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. CLICK HERE to view the letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan. CLICK HERE to view the letter to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.

E&C Republican Leaders Demand Briefing with TikTok About the Exploitation of Kids on the Platform

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Oversight and Investigation Subcommittee Republican Leader Morgan Griffith (R-VA), Communications and Technology Subcommittee Republican Leader Bob Latta (R-OH), and Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee Republican Leader Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) sent a letter to TikTok this week following reports over how the company has failed to address the sexual exploitation of kids on its platform. Excerpts and highlights from the  exclusive coverage  by Forbes: “‘TikTok has been incapable of rooting out the spate of TikTok accounts that are trading illegal child sexual content,’ four House lawmakers wrote Wednesday to TikTok’s chief, citing a November Forbes investigation that revealed how illicit private handles on the platform are hiding child abuse material in plain sight—posted using a setting that makes it visible only to the person logged in. “‘Equally troubling are the livestreams your company hosts that allow adult TikTok users to monetarily persuade children to perform sexually suggestive acts,’ the letter continued, citing a separate Forbes investigation, from April, into how adults use TikTok Live to exploit underage girls—by paying them to engage in provocative, potentially illegal behavior. “‘Considering that about half of all U.S. children use TikTok every day, our concerns enumerated above are paramount. … Therefore, we ask you [to] provide the Committee with a briefing as soon as possible, but no later than December 21,’ the memo concluded. It was led by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, the top Republican on the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee who, along with her counterpart on House Oversight, opened an investigation into TikTok in July over China’s ability to access U.S. user data. Reps. Gus Bilirakis of Florida, Morgan Griffith of Virginia and Bob Latta of Ohio also signed onto the letter fired off Wednesday and shared exclusively with Forbes.” CLICK HERE  to read the full Forbes story. CLICK HERE  to read the full letter to TikTok.