Axios first reported on the suit.
The select committee released a statement on its subpoena of Salesforce, defending its attempt to obtain information from the company.
“Between Election Day 2020 and January 6th, the RNC and the Trump campaign solicited donations by pushing false claims that the election was tainted by widespread fraud,” select committee spokesperson Tim Mulvey said in a statement. “These emails encouraged supporters to put pressure on Congress to keep President Trump in power.”
“The Select Committee issued a subpoena to an email fundraising vendor in order to help investigators understand the impact of false, inflammatory messages in the weeks before January 6th, the flow of funds, and whether contributions were actually directed to the purpose indicated. This action has absolutely nothing to do with getting the private information of voters or donors,” the statement said.
Separately, RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel met with staff of the select committee on Wednesday, a source familiar with the meeting told POLITICO, though it’s not clear whether McDaniel testified or if this was just an initial contact with investigators.
Along with its statement, the committee released a Feb. 23 letter to SalesForce explaining the rationale behind the subpoena. It noted that the RNC and Trump campaign jointly blanketed Trump supporters with fundraising emails in the weeks after the election, laden with what it called “inflammatory” claims about the election results.
One of those missives went out at 1:24 p.m. on Jan. 6, 2021, as rioters encircled the Capitol, declaring: “TODAY will be a historic day in our Nation’s history. … Every single Patriot from across the Country must step up RIGHT NOW.”
The RNC makes a litany of complaints about the subpoena, accusing the committee of infringing on its First Amendment rights and echoing similar lawsuits filed by allies of Donald Trump who claim that the committee’s subpoena is illegitimate.
“The Select Committee’s subpoena to Salesforce.com (“Salesforce”), a key data and digital communications vendor to the RNC, vastly exceeds Congress’ limited subpoena power and infringes on rights of the RNC, its constituent members, donors, and other supporters,” the draft lawsuit said.
“The RNC and its millions of supporters face an unprecedented threat that will undoubtedly chill their First Amendment rights and expose the RNC’s supporters to reprisals and harassment.”
Lawyers for the RNC began the process of filing the suit on Wednesday in Washington but appeared to hit a technical snag. The RNC released the complaint on its website.
It’s the most notable legal dispute to date between the GOP fundraising arm and the Jan. 6 committee in the fallout from the Capitol attack. The select committee has not announced any subpoena for McDaniel but has subpoenaed several RNC members who participated in the Trump campaign’s effort to submit false electors to Congress.
Josh Gerstein contributed to this report.