The continuing saga of Elon Musk and Twitter not only continues; the plot just thickened. Eighteen Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee have asked Twitter’s board of directors to preserve all records related to Musk’s proposed hostile takeover, according to a letter released Friday.
While the formal request from the minority Republicans doesn’t carry the legal clout of a subpoena, everything could change in January 2023, if — when — Republicans regain the majority in the House in the midterm elections, raising the possibility that they could pursue an inquiry.
Show of hands — who’d shell out some serious cash to watch the Twitter board of directors testify under oath before a Republican-controlled House Judiciary Committee? Awesome. Grab lots of popcorn.
In letters first shared with CNBC, the Repubs asked Twitter Board Chairman Bret Taylor to preserve all board members’ messages from official or personal accounts, including through encryption software, pertaining to Twitter’s “consideration of” — desperate battle against — Musk’s hostile takeover bid.
Ranking member Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) made the formal request to the Twitter Board Chair Bret Taylor in one of the letters.
As Congress continues to examine Big Tech and how to best protect Americans’ free speech rights, this letter serves as a formal request that you preserve all records and materials relating to Musk’s offer to purchase Twitter, including Twitter’s consideration and response to this offer, and Twitter’s evaluation of its shareholder interests with respect to Musk’s offer.
Jordan was referring to a corporate board’s “fiduciary duties,” which the board not only owes exclusively to shareholders, including minority shareholders; the board is also solely accountable to shareholders.
“Decisions regarding Twitter’s future governance will undoubtedly be consequential for public discourse in the United States,” the letter also stated, continuing:
You should construe this preservation notice as an instruction to take all reasonable steps to prevent the destruction or alteration, whether intentionally or negligently, of all documents, communications, and other information, including electronic information and metadata, that is or may be potentially responsive to this congressional inquiry.
As reported by RedState, while Twitter has not issued a formal response to Musk’s bid, the board last week announced a “poison pill” strategy that would be triggered if Musk — who owns more than nine percent of the megacorporation’s common shares — crosses a 15-percent threshold. If activated, it would allow other Twitter shareholders to buy additional stock at a substantial discount, that would then trade at a value of twice their sale price. Theoretically, the flood of new shares would dilute Musk’s share, all designed to make ownership prohibitively expensive.
To that last point, the letter alluded to the earlier-mentioned fiduciary responsibilities.
Twitter’s Board Members have fiduciary duties to the company’s shareholders. These duties apply despite how many corporations’ leaders increasingly pursue progressive policy goals divorced from shareholder interests.
The bottom line:
So, yeah, the plot thickens. Then again, Elon Musk is Elon Musk.
I mean, the guy didn’t become the richest dude on the planet by folding up like a cheap suit at the first sign of resistance, not to mention he’s not dealing with an equally-savvy corporate colleague, here. On the contrary, Musk seems at times to be toying with the Twitter board, not dissimilar to playing with a hamster in its wheel.
Whether the Twitter board complies with the House Republicans’ request that it preserve related correspondence — or not — and regardless of the board’s panicked attempts to stave off Musk’s takeover attempt, Elon Musk alone will ultimately decide whether or not he acquires Twitter.
Related on RedState:
Even Jack Dorsey Is Slamming Twitter’s Board and Pointing out Their Corruption
MSNBC Analyst Uses Elon Musk Twitter Bid as Excuse to Declare US Must ‘Abolish Billionaires’
Elon Musk Dunks on the Twitter Board — and Comments on Whether Things Are ‘Rigged’