Hoeven, Daines join colleagues in denouncing funds for Disinformation Governance Board

U.S. Sens. John Hoeven (R-ND) and Steve Daines (R-MT) are among 18 lawmakers urging homeland security leadership to prohibit funding in the fiscal year 2023 appropriations bill for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Disinformation Governance Board. 

“We urge that no funds allocated to any of DHS’s offices or components be used to support the board or any functions of the board,” wrote the senators in a May 18 letter sent to U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security Chairman Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Ranking Member Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV). 

“The federal government should never be in the business of regulating speech or being the arbiter of truth, and this latest attempt to engage in that slippery slope should be defunded,” wrote Sen. Hoeven and Sen. Daines, who were joined in signing the letter by lawmakers including U.S. Sens. Todd Young (R-IN), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Mitt Romney (R-UT), and Rob Portman (R-OH).

The existence of the board first became known during congressional hearings in April, but the board has been in existence for several months, wrote the senators, noting that little remains known as to what the board will actually do, how it will determine what is disinformation, and the scope in which it will take to monitor disinformation from American citizens.

“It is known, however, that the board’s executive director, Nina Jankowicz, is a hyper-partisan actor whose opinions of free speech and of those she disagrees with are well documented,” according to their letter. “It is also known that the board currently lacks any guiding policy, mission statement, or charter.”

Absent such “necessary guardrails to prevent mission creep,” the senators wrote that a substantial risk exists for both government overreach and First Amendment infringements. 

They did, however, acknowledge that recent reports indicate that the board’s operations have been paused, Jankowicz has resigned, and DHS is considering dissolution of the board. Nevertheless, they wrote, the board’s “future remains as unclear as its mission.”

The potential for abuse by the Disinformation Governance Board “is so egregious that we urge any and all funding for the board be prohibited during the Homeland Security appropriations process,” they wrote.