On Thursday, Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares sent a letter signed by himself and 19 other Republican attorneys general to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, threatening to take legal action against the “un-American” Disinformation Governance Board.
According to the letter, the newly created government board — which many conservatives have compared to the “Ministry of Truth” from George Orwell’s “1984” — violates the constitutional freedoms that the attorneys general are called to defend.
“As the chief legal officers of our respective States, we the undersigned Attorneys General are tasked not just with enforcing the laws, but with protecting the constitutional rights of all our citizens,” the Republican leaders wrote.
“Today we write you to insist that you immediately cease taking action that appears designed exclusively for the purpose of suppressing the exercise of constitutional rights,” they added.
The letter went on to condemn the disturbing impact the board would have on Americans’ freedom of speech.
“The existence of the Disinformation Governance Board will inevitably have a chilling effect on free speech. Americans will hesitate before they voice their constitutionally protected opinions, knowing that the government’s censors may be watching, and some will decide it is safer to keep their opinions to themselves,” the GOP leaders wrote.
The Republican attorneys general concluded their letter to Mayorkas with a warning that they will be taking legal action if the government moves forward with the Disinformation Governance Board.
“Unless you turn back now and disband this Orwellian Disinformation Governance Board immediately, the undersigned will have no choice but to consider judicial remedies to protect the rights of their citizens,” the letter concluded.
Miyares released a statement alongside the letter, reaffirming the need to protect Americans’ free speech from the proposed DHS board.
“Freedom of speech is the bedrock of democracy,” the attorney general wrote. “Instead of protecting and fostering it, this administration wants to create an organization that would have federal bureaucrats monitoring citizens’ speech. This would undoubtedly lead to Americans self-censoring their ideas and debates. I am concerned about the spread of false information, but creating a federal agency to police speech is not the way to address it. As the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Virginia, I cannot stand by as the rights of every Virginian are being threatened. The war on the First Amendment must stop.”
In addition to Virginia, the other states’ whose attorneys general signed on to the letter include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia.
The threat of legal action from the Republican states comes following another letter sent by Republicans from the House Judiciary Committee, which was addressed to the new Disinformation Governance Board executive director, Nina Jankowicz, asking her to provide testimony regarding her new role.
The letter was signed by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), a ranking member of the committee, along with 11 other GOP House Judiciary Committee members.
“This Board is un-American, anti-democratic, and a dangerous escalation of the Biden Administration’s embrace of government-endorsed censorship,” the GOP representatives wrote.