Comer Threatens Subpoena of DOJ Over TikTok

( – House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) has given the Department of Justice (DOJ) until April 15 to provide information on whether or not it is investigating the social media app, TikTok, in relation to possible violations of the 1938 Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). Should the DOJ fail to comply, Comer has said that he will seek a subpoena to force the agency to reveal the related documentation.

TikTok has faced increased scrutiny by lawmakers of late, with the House voting in March to pass a bill that would require its Chinese parent company ByteDance to divest from it, or otherwise face a ban in the U.S. The bill is currently sitting with Senators, who will decide whether to propose any amendments to the bill before scheduling a vote.

TikTok has been criticized by both Republican and Democrat lawmakers who view it as a threat to national security, with justice officials warning that the app is subject to Chinese laws that necessitate the passing of personal data to the Chinese government.

TikTok is not the only subject of Rep. Comer’s concerns, however, as he has also flagged concerns that Al Jazeera, an English language news network based in Qatar and partially funded by the Qatari government, is working at “the behest of foreign principals”. Comer, who pointed out that both TikTok and Al Jazeera continue to operate in the U.S. without having registered with under FARA. He also cited a memorandum of understanding between the Qatari Ministry of Communications and TikTok that showed that the Qataris have plans to expand their “digital footprint” in the U.S. The memorandum was signed in February, and the House Oversight Committee last requested information from the DOJ on February 8, which Comer says the agency has refused to give.

Al Jazeera has refuted its need to register under FARA, claiming that the Qatari government does not have any control over the network, a claim that Comer does not believe.

Copyright 2024,