Appeals Court Dismisses GOP Lawsuit Against Jan. 6 Committee

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A lawsuit from the Republican National Committee against the House committee investigating January 6 over a subpoena from the panel for records held at Salesforce that were related to GOP fundraising emails was dismissed this week.

A three-judge panel on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the case as moot after an unopposed motion for dismissal from the Congressional side — and after the riot panel dropped its disputed subpoena altogether, indicating it wouldn’t renew it. “Given the current state of its investigation, the Select Committee has determined that it no longer has a need to pursue the specific information requested in the Salesforce subpoena,” House Counsel Doug Letter said, pushing for the dismissal of the RNC’s case. POLITICO notes potential concerns driving the committee’s sudden lack of interest in obtaining the data possibly included worries of a ruling from the appeals court panel undercutting the committee’s work, which was repeatedly upheld at the district court — but not appeals court — level. The three judges on the panel dealing with this dispute at the appeals level were also all nominees of Trump.

On the RNC side, those challenging the original subpoena claimed constitutional protections, including free speech, in their defense. “This is a victory for freedom of speech, privacy, and Americans’ right of political association without fear of partisan reprisal,” GOP spokeswoman Emma Vaughn said after the panel abandoned its earlier efforts. Partisan reprisal over political association isn’t what was happening here — although the appeals panel also vacated (essentially meaning undid) an earlier ruling in the committee’s favor from a judge at the district court level, Timothy Kelly (another Trump pick). “Because the Committee caused the mootness and thereby deprived us of the ability to review the district court’s decision, and given the important and unsettled constitutional questions that the appeal would have presented, we vacate the district court’s judgment,” the appeals court judges said this week.

Notably, Trump-affiliated fundraising is now under apparent investigation at the Justice Department, where grand jury subpoenas recently went out demanding — among other items — info related to the financial operations (including fundraising and spending) of Trump’s Save America PAC. After the election, the fundraising apparatus around then-outgoing President Trump raised hundreds of millions of dollars in apparent connection to false claims about the integrity of the last election. Donors were sometimes asked to provide money for an “Official Election Defense Fund,” but such a fund didn’t actually exist, and most of the money that came in after the election didn’t support any litigation related to it.