Download a PDF version of the letter here.
December 20, 2021
Vestberg, Verizon Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
1095 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10036
Dear Mr. Vestberg,
During the terrible riots that resulted in scores of deaths and billions of dollars in property damage last summer, you stated that Verizon “cannot commit to … moving the world forward unless we are committed to helping ensure we move it forward for everyone.” That was a noble sentiment, but Verizon has contradicted itself and decided that not everyone is worth moving forward.
Indeed, Verizon has picked the wrong side in the fight between those who stand for America versus the Socialist Left, which is determined to destroy our freedoms and values. It is your chosen ally that created an invalid, hyper-politicized “committee” to harm Republicans while hiding Nancy Pelosi’s grave culpability in the January 6 debacle.
In doing so Verizon has turned on its own customers and foisted on them the burden to battle against the insatiable effort by radicals in Congress to get their hands on private data that actually requires a court order to obtain. This is wrong and Verizon must fix its wrong-headed choices.
Nancy Pelosi’s so-called “January 6 Committee” is illegitimate, and its work is invalid. In forming the committee, Pelosi brazenly discarded the rules of the House of Representatives – rules she wrote – that apply to every other Member of Congress. She refused to accept the appointments of the House Republican Leader and substituted her own shills to guarantee the outcome she wants.
Yes, Pelosi picked the Republicans on the panel. Who did she sub in to guarantee her desired result? Future former Representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, two people who are actively turning their backs on conservative principles. In doing so, she claims the so-called “select committee” is bipartisan, because two of her “Never-Trump” Republicans-in-Name-Only are participating.
The House Rules give the Republican leadership the power to appoint Republicans to committees. Pelosi broke this rule, ignored the selections of the Republican Leader, and stacked the deck. This makes a mockery of the Rule of Law. Any work of the committee – including the issuance of subpoenas — is invalid. Turning private information over to this illegitimate committee is akin to turning the information over to the Democrat National Committee.
The limited scope of the committee investigation also makes clear that it is little more than the venue for a partisan witch hunt. Pelosi ordered the committee members not to explore why she refused the assistance of the National Guard to provide security at the Capitol. Reports show that the former Capitol Police Chief, along with the White House, urged use of the National Guard in anticipation of a planned large gathering who were going to march near the Capitol.
There were more than 10 requests in advance of, and during, the ugly events of January 6. But Nancy Pelosi, who as Speaker of the House has political appointees in place to oversee the Capitol Police, turned down these requests until too much harm had already been caused. Why? Perhaps Verizon should turn over Pelosi’s records and we’d have a better understanding about her irresponsible actions.
The breadth of the subpoenas that have been issued is just as illuminating, and alarming. Pelosi’s’ minions are demanding that Verizon turn over information that most of us would be covered by an expectation of privacy, including the contents of all text messages, other short message service communications, and emails associated with each account. It is one thing to demand location data and call logs from a mobile carrier. No one expects that information to be protected. It is quite another to peer into the substance of private communications without a court order.
This committee is further demonstrating its illegitimacy to make headlines and bankrupt Republicans in its treatment of Mark Meadows, a man known as one of the most decent people in Washington. The panel just voted to hold the president’s former Chief of Staff, and former House colleague, in contempt simply for following the time-honored process surrounding Executive Privilege.
Meadows had been cooperating with the committee. Rather than turning over information that may be covered by Executive Privilege (and thus, not his to share), Meadows asked the US District Court to clarify what he is required to disclose to Pelosi’s kangaroo court. Rather than waiting for a decision by an unbiased legal authority, Pelosi is seeking to have him prosecuted. Every single American should be outraged by this obscene abuse of power.
In an awkward attempt to defend Verizon’s actions, its trade association, the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA), actually indicated what Verizon should have done in response to this unlawful panel’s demands. In a press release, CTIA offered that “wireless carriers are compelled to comply with valid subpoenas and do so every day.” Any litigant can issue a subpoena. But to compel compliance requires a court of competent jurisdiction to issue an order. Rather than protecting its customers by requiring a valid court order, we have learned that Verizon has told its own customers that they must fight alone.
If your customers want to challenge the legitimacy of the subpoenas, you are telling them that must do their own legal work at their own expense to protect their own privacy. This is not how a company that values its customers ought to act. We recently told AT&T that never in our nation’s history has a company collapsed so gracelessly in response to a fake committee’s invalid subpoenas. We are concerned that Verizon has decided to follow AT&T’s shameful approach.
We are rarely complimentary of Apple, but in this context, the company serves its customers’ interests by requiring a court order when a questionable subpoena is served. According to the New York Times, Apple challenged 238 demands from the government for its customers’ account data in the first six months of 2020. Why does Verizon not live up to that standard now? The board members of Verizon may not be aware of the betrayal of its own customers, but they must be aware of the other ways the company has contributed to the hyper-partisanship in America.
For example, during the riots of 2020, Verizon voted with its shareholder’s profits when it doled out $10 million to multiple organizations to advance progressive social justice policies. Particularly galling was Verizon’s support of Jesse Jackson’s “Rainbow Push Coalition,” which rarely misses an opportunity to squeeze corporate America for funds to support partisan, leftwing political activities. One doesn’t have to work in Washington, DC very long before learning that Rainbow Push’s real expertise is sowing racial anger and shaking down corporations for “donations” … or else!
And here the facts are revealing about the real purpose of the “January 6 Committee.” The summer of 2020 saw an unprecedented assault on America by the Socialist Left: well over 500 riots across the country resulted in dozens of American deaths and over $2 billion in property damage; 2,000 police officers were injured, attacked, shot and stabbed; federal and state court houses and police precincts were burned to the ground. Despite an initial arrest of 14,000 rioters, almost all were immediately released and their respective criminal charges were dropped. Yet Nancy Pelosi refused to investigate this crime wave or condemn the violence and instead pushed for an “investigation” of one of the rare instances where supporters of President Trump were accused of wrongdoing.
Verizon has disclosed to its customers that it will cave to Pelosi’s unlawful committee and its invalid subpoena. This betrays its customers and creates a precedent that must be reversed. The democratic process is dying in plain sight, and Verizon is abetting its demise. If it truly wants to move the world forward for everyone, Verizon should stick to the business of telecommunications and stop dividing America into warring camps.
–The Conservative Political Action Coalition