The House Oversight and Reform Committee is investigating whether the far-right social network Parler offered former President Donald Trump a 40% stake to join the platform, The Washington Post reports.
The panel is investigating Parler after Trump supporters used the platform to coordinate the Capitol riot and posted videos of their siege. The site was taken down by Amazon, Google, and Apple though it has since found a new host.
The committee will investigate questions about the company’s ownership and potential ties to Russia.
Parler recently fired its CEO, who said he was ousted by Trump donor Rebekah Mercer after he tried to set up a moderation system.
Was Trump offered ownership stake?
The committee cited recent reports suggesting the company may have offered Trump a stake in the company to entice him to join while he was still in office.
“Since the attacks, numerous Parler users have been arrested and charged for their roles, with the Department of Justice citing in several instances the threats that individuals made through Parler in the days leading up to and following the attack,” Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney said. “Individuals with ties to the January 6 assault should not — and must not — be allowed to hide behind the veil of anonymity provided by shell companies.”
Ties to Russia?
The letter also asked whether Parler or any of its investors have business ties to “any Russian individual or entity.”
This appears to be linked to former CEO John Matze’s marriage to a Russian woman and there have been no reports suggesting Russian involvement.
BuzzFeed News previously reported that Matze negotiated with Trump’s team about his joining the network after he was booted from Twitter and that the Trump Organization wanted a 40% cut in return.