• House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan has issued a subpoena to the Federal Trade Commission demanding access to documents related to the FTC’s probe into Elon Musk’s Twitter purchase.
  • Jordan has accused the FTC of failing to provide sufficient records in response to his initial request.
  • The subpoena follows the resignation of the sole Republican member of the FTC.
  • The “Twitter Files” released by Musk have been a source of controversy, with some charging that they validate the Republicans’ claim of censorship and others disputing it.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan has subpoenaed the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), demanding access to documents related to the organization’s probe of Elon Musk’s Twitter purchase.

The subpoena is an escalation in the political drama surrounding the FTC’s investigation into Musk’s October 2022 acquisition of the social media platform, including the subsequent layoffs and the sharing of Twitter documents with journalists. Prior to Musk’s ownership, Twitter had long been the subject of scrutiny, specifically from GOP lawmakers who charged that the platform was censoring right-wing tweeters.

Jordan, an Ohio Republican, has ordered FTC Chair Lina Khan to provide the Judiciary Committee with documents and internal communication related to the Twitter investigation by April 26, according to Axios.

Jim Jordan Escalates Fight Over Probe
GOP Representative Jim Jordan attends a House Judiciary Committee hearing on “Oversight of the Department of Justice: Political Interference and Threats to Prosecutorial Independence” on June 24, 2020. This week, Jordan, the panel’s chairman, subpoenaed the Federal Trade Commission demanding access to documents related to the FTC’s probe into Elon Musk’s Twitter purchase.
Susan Walsh/AFP/Getty

In the subpoena, Jordan demands that the FTC provide a slew of documents so the Judiciary Committee can perform oversight of the investigation. Jordan threatened to subpoena the commission last week, when Newsweek reported that he ordered the FTC to provide documents related to its approach to company mergers and acquisitions. He ordered a response by April 10 under the threat of a subpoena. Khan had previously ignored a March 9 deadline for providing the records.

House Republicans have pledged to hold Khan accountable for FTC actions since Christine Wilson, the sole Republican on the commission, announced she would resign because of the Democratic chair’s leadership. Wilson accused Khan of exhibiting an “abuse of power.”

In the subpoena sent to Khan, Jordan said the FTC’s compliance with the Judiciary Committee was “woefully insufficient.”

“Accordingly, the Committee is issuing a subpoena to compel the production of documents necessary to inform our oversight,” the subpoena said.

An FTC spokesman told Newsweek that the commission has offered to brief Jordan’s staff multiple times on nonpublic information about its investigation into Twitter, but the Judiciary Committee hasn’t accepted the FTC’s offer.

“The FTC respects the important role of congressional oversight. We have made multiple offers to brief Chairman Jordan’s staff on our investigation into Twitter,” the spokesman, Douglas Farrar, said. “Those are standing offers made prior to this entirely unnecessary subpoena.”

Twitter has been the target of conservatives since the 2020 presidential election, when the social media platform banned users or removed posts that contained disinformation, racism or tweets that violated Twitter’s user agreement. Some conservatives were outraged when the social media platform removed posts.

Shortly after Musk took over the company, he released internal Twitter documents to a group of journalists, who published excerpts from them in tweets, which Musk labeled the “Twitter Files.”

The release was a controversial move, with some charging that they validate Republican claims that social media companies are censoring right-wing users. However, others dispute that claim. NPR reported this past December that internal researchers at Twitter discovered that social media algorithms appear to favor right-wing political content.

Newsweek reached out to Jordan’s office by phone for comment.