MP Jim Jordan, Ohio, attends a press conference with members of the Republican Party Doctors Party after a meeting of the Republican Conference of the House of Representatives at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, January 19, 2022.

Tom Williams CQ-Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images

A group of 18 Republicans in the House of Representatives is asking the Twitter board to keep all records related to Ilona Mask’s offer to buy the company, setting up a potential congressional inquiry if the party gets a majority this fall.

In letters sent exclusively to CNBC, Republicans on the House Legal Affairs Committee asked Twitter Chairman Bret Taylor and other board members to keep any messages from official or personal accounts, including using encryption software concerning Twitter’s mask proposal.

“As Congress continues to study Big Tech and how best to protect Americans’ rights to free speech, this letter is an official request to keep all records and materials related to Mask’s offer to acquire Twitter, including Twitter review and response to that offer, and Twitter rating shareholders ’interests regarding Mask’s offer,” the letter reads, led by rating member Jim Jordan, Ohio.

“You must treat this conservation notice as an instruction to take all reasonable steps to prevent the destruction or alteration, intentional or negligent, of all documents, communications and other information, including electronic information and metadata, that are or may be potentially responsible for this. an investigation by Congress, ”the letter continued.

The request suggests that if Republicans regain a majority in the House of Representatives in the 2022 by-elections, they could launch an investigation on Twitter, especially if the company refuses to accept an offer from Mask, who is the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX. Under the control of the Republicans, the Judicial Committee of the House of Representatives may decide to summon the minutes of the internal deliberations of the council.

This is not the first time Twitter has attracted the attention of Republican lawmakers.

The platform has become a focal point for some conservative members who have accused Twitter of unfairly deleting or moderating messages for ideological reasons. Twitter denies this and says it adheres to standards based on community principles.

In a letter to Taylor on Friday, lawmakers wrote: “Decisions regarding the future governance of Twitter will undoubtedly be relevant to public discourse in the United States and could lead to renewed legislative efforts to preserve freedom of expression online. Among other things, the council’s reaction to Ilona Mask’s offer to buy Twitter, as well as the opposition of outsiders to the role of Mask in the future of Twitter are of concern.

Twitter also became a center of criticism for Republicans in October 2020 when it blocked links to the New York Post story, which claimed that Joe Biden’s son Hunter, when his father was vice president, tried to introduce his father to a top manager of the Ukrainian company . worked for. A spokesman for Biden’s presidential campaign said in a statement that such a meeting had never taken place and that The Post “never asked Biden’s campaign about critical elements of the story.”

Twitter said at a time when he blocked links to the story because it violated the hacking policy and included personal information such as email addresses, also violating its rules. Then-CEO Jack Dorsey later said it was “wrong” to block links to the story, and said Twitter had updated its policy to reflect this. The test drew criticism from the right on Twitter, many of whom felt the campaign had unfairly blocked the story for ideological reasons.

A Twitter spokesman declined to comment.

Here are the letters to Twitter board members:

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