Politico

Multiple RNC staffers have spoken to Jan. 6 panel, sources say


Multiple current and former Republican National Committee staffers have spoken with the Jan. 6 select committee amid questions about the party’s messaging and fundraising in the weeks after the 2020 election, according to two people familiar with the probe.

The committee has shown particular interest in staff from the RNC’s digital and finance teams.

Most of the officials who have spoken with investigators are former employees who worked during the 2020 election cycle, including the fraught period between Election Day and the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, one of the people said.

That means the committee has more insight than previously known into the Republican Party’s activity in the lead-up to January 6. The interviews underscore the select committee’s interest in how political messaging by the national GOP apparatus — which partnered with the Trump campaign on digital fundraising efforts — may have stoked falsehoods about the 2020 election.

They also want to know just how successful one particular email campaign was at getting users to click through to donation websites. Those emails prompted people to give money based on false claims the election was stolen, the select committee has emphasized.

Committee investigators have said they’re interested in who authorized the RNC’s specific messaging about the election outcome and whether it played a role in stoking the violent mob that breached the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Salesforce, a third-party vendor the RNC has used to store internal political and fundraising data, appeared to reach that conclusion, saying shortly after the Jan. 6 attack that they were concerned their platform could have contributed to the violence. The select committee has subpoenaed the company for its internal analyses that led to that conclusion, along with a host of materials related to its work for the RNC.

Ronna McDaniel, the RNC Chair, has met with panel investigators. But on the day she did, the RNC sued to block Salesforce from complying with the Jan. 6 committee subpoena. The subpoena, issued in February, also sought information on fundraising pitches questioning the integrity of the 2020 election, and on metrics related to that campaign.

In court filings, the RNC has indicated that only a few dozen party officials have access to its Salesforce accounts and that all of them are required to sign “strict nondisclosure” agreements. Only a tiny fraction of those people have “administrator level permissions.” It’s unclear whether any of the officials who spoke to the select committee had access to the RNC’s Salesforce data. The RNC argued in its lawsuit that the panel’s subpoena is “overbroad,” saying that seeking such a wide swath of information could lead to unparalleled insight into the workings of the Republican Party –– including sensitive information about data, fundraising and digital operations.

Investigators, meanwhile, say they only want aggregated data that would likely be “stale” for any future election cycles.

U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Kelly has said he will rule this week on whether to permit the select committee to access those materials through the Salesforce subpoena, side with the RNC and block it or prolong the lawsuit.

He has indicated he’s inclined to dismiss the RNC’s claims against the select committee on the grounds that the Constitution’s Speech or Debate clause prevents Congress from being sued for conducting its official business. However, Kelly is grappling with whether to allow the RNC to continue its legal fight against Salesforce, which would keep alive the prospect of blocking the committee from obtaining records.

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