Tech visionary and the world's richest man, Elon Musk, has taken aim at USVI Delegate to Congress Stacey Plaskett following comments Ms. Plaskett made Thursday calling into question the source of funding for Mr. Musk's $44 billion purchase of Twitter.
The comments were made during a U.S. House Judiciary Committee hearing after committee chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), released an 18-page report including excerpts of letters from the Federal Trade Commission to Twitter, where he accused the FTC of “orchestrating an aggressive campaign to harass Twitter." The report says the FTC's investigation into Twitter is a result of “partisan pressure to target Twitter and silence Musk.”
The FTC has taken unprecedented action in demanding Twitter turn over all internal communications related to owner Elon Musk, according to documents viewed by the Wall Street Journal. According to WSJ, in 12 letters sent to Twitter and its lawyers since Mr. Musk’s Oct. 27 takeover, the FTC also asked the social media company to “identify all journalists” granted access to company records and to provide information about the launch of the revamped Twitter Blue subscription service.
“We are concerned these staff reductions impact Twitter’s ability to protect consumers’ information,” an FTC official wrote to Twitter’s lawyers on Nov. 10 following an initial wave of layoffs, according to a copy of the letter viewed by WSJ.
During Thursday's hearing, Ms. Plaskett called into question Mr. Musk's funding source for his acquisition of Twitter, and questioned whether states hostile to the U.S. have sensitive information of Americans shared with the social media company.
"Mr. Chairman Americans can see through this," she said. "Musk is helping you out politically, and you're going out of your way to promote and protect him, and to praise him for his work."
She added, "This isn't just a matter out what data was given to these so-called journalists before us now, there are many legitimate questions about where Mr. Musk got the financing to buy twitter. We know for a fact that foreign countries like Qatar, Saudi Arabia and possibly even Russia and China are investors presently in Twitter. Do these countries now have access to private Twitter user data? What agreement has Elon Musk reached with them?
Independent investigative journalists Taibbi and Michael Shellenberger, who were involved in the “Twitter Files” — a series of articles delineating how U.S. Government agencies and lawmakers interacted with the social media company over how it moderated content — were part of the Thursday hearing.
Mr. Musk responded on Twitter: "This is such lame propaganda lol," he tweeted.
He also responded to another tweet that took aim at Thursday's hearing. "... I never thought I would come to see this day when Democrats trash journalists for seeking to disclose government censorship work and pressing them for their sources and confidential information," said Jonathan Turley, Shapiro Chair of Public Interest Law at George Washington University and a criminal defense attorney.
Mr. Musk responded to Mr. Turley's tweet, saying, "So bizarre."
The sources of Mr. Musk's funding for his purchase of Twitter have been public from the outset. Below is a WSJ chart providing all the funding sources.