A group of 11 Republican lawmakers accidentally sent a threatening letter to the wrong CEO of Yahoo! as part of a bid to pressure the company not to comply with a records request from the House Select Committee investigating the Capitol riot.
The letter, first reported by Forbes, was addressed to former Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer, who stepped down in 2017. The current CEO of Yahoo! is Guru Gowrappan.
The letter was signed by lawmakers prominent within the Republican Party's far-right wing, including Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, North Carolina Representative Madison Cawthorn, and Colorado Representative Lauren Boebert.
You can read the complete letter below.
The letter reads, in part:
"You are receiving this letter because news reports indicate that your company received a request to turn over your clients' private and confidential data to Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives. ..."
"As you are aware, your company has a legal obligation to protect the data of your subscribers and customers, and we are confident that you will follow the law and not disclose their private and confidential records without a legal order to do so."
"Section 222 of the Communications Act and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act both protect the privacy and confidentiality of these records and data, and they prohibit the unlawful disclosure of this information."
The lawmakers go on to threaten Mayer with legal action in the event Yahoo! complies with the House Select Committee's request:
"If you fail to comply with these obligations, we will pursue all legal remedies."
"Please be advised that the undersigned do not consent to the release do not consent to the release of confidential call records or data."
The letter is just one of 13 letters sent out to other companies, including Amazon, AOL, Apple, AT&T, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Snap, T-Mobile, Twitter, U.S. Cellular Corporation and Verizon, per Forbes.
All of the letter's signatories have for months elevated former President Donald Trump's conspiracy theories about the integrity of the 2020 general election, alleging that the process was fraudulent.
Their letter comes the week after the House Select Committee said it will ask telecommunications companies to preserve the phone records of lawmakers who participated in the "Stop the Steal" rally ahead of the January 6 Capitol riot.
Many criticized the politicians for failing to do basic research and identifying the wrong Yahoo! CEO.
Others said that their willingness to obstruct the House Select Committee's investigation is evidence of their guilt.
News of the threatening letter comes after the government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed an ethics complaint against Republican Representative Kevin McCarthy, the House Minority Leader, and Marjorie Taylor Greene.
Both McCarthy and Greene had claimed that companies that complied with the House Select Committee's request would be shut down.
The complaint, which was filed with the chief counsel of the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE), reads:
"House rules require members to uphold the laws of the United States and to conduct themselves at all times in a manner that reflects creditably on the House. The threats of McCarthy and Greene do neither."
"Threatening retaliation for complying with legally valid document demands and preservation requests appears to violate 18 U.S.C. § 1505, which prohibits obstructing congressional investigations, and does not reflect creditably on the House."
Former President Donald Trump has also made public attempts to undermine the work of the House Select Committee.