Attorney General Andrew Bailey (R-Mo.) announced Monday that his office has opened an investigation into left-wing nonprofit group Media Matters for America (MMFA) for allegedly engaging in fraudulent activities to solicit donations.
🚨BREAKING: We have reason to believe Media Matters used fraud to solicit donations from Missourians in order to bully advertisers into pulling out of X, the last platform dedicated to free speech in America.
We have launched an investigation. pic.twitter.com/jBUJqdsFYL
— Attorney General Andrew Bailey (@AGAndrewBailey) December 11, 2023
The investigation comes after X owner Elon Musk announced that he would sue Media Matters for smearing his social media platform as anti-Semitic and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R-Texas) announced that his state would launch a fraud probe into the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization’s practices.
“As you are no doubt aware, a federal lawsuit has been filed against Media Matters, raising serious allegations that your firm falsely and deceptively manipulated the algorithm on X (formerly known as Twitter) through coordinated, inauthentic behavior and that you did so in an attempt to defame the organization and cause advertisers to pull their support from the platform, thus harming free speech,” Bailey wrote in letter notifying Angelo Carusone, President and CEO Media Matters for America, of the investigation.
Since its founding in 2004 by far-left political operative David Brock, MMFA has obsessed over conservative media figures like the late king of talk radio Rush Limbaugh, and Fox News. Since Musk took over the platform, Media Matters has largely set its sites on X.
X Corp’s lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas Fort Worth Division, accused Media Matters of posting a story “that completely misrepresented the real user experience on X, in another attempt to undermine freedom of speech and mislead advertisers.”
“The lawsuit alleges that you lied to the public, falsely suggesting that fringe, extremist content regularly appears next to content from corporate advertisers when in fact the opposite is true. At the same time, you appear to have used this coordinated, inauthentic activity to solicit charitable donations from consumers across the country,” Bailey wrote.
I have reason to believe that your firm’s alleged actions may have violated Missouri consumer protection laws, including laws that prohibit nonprofit entities from soliciting funds under false pretenses. E.g., Mo. Rev. Stat. § 407.020.1. I am especially concerned that Media Matters’ actions, if proven true, have hampered free speech by targeting an expressly pro free speech social media platform in an attempt to cause it financial harm while defrauding Missourians in the process.
Bailey asked MMFA to to preserve all records and communications on its website related to a post titled: As Musk endorses antisemitic conspiracy theory, X has been placing ads for Apple, Bravo, IBM, Oracle, and Xfinity next to pro-Nazi content.
“We have reason to believe Media Matters used fraud to solicit donations from Missourians in order to trick advertisers into pulling out of X, the last platform dedicated to free speech in America. Radicals are attempting to kill Twitter because they cannot control it, and we are not going to let Missourians get ripped off in the process,” said Bailey in a statement Monday. “I’m fighting to ensure progressive tyrants masquerading as news outlets cannot manipulate the marketplace in order to wipe out free speech.”
Baily told Fox Business that he believes that “free speech is the foundation of this Republic and we’re in a fight against radical, progressive tyrants who will lie, cheat and steal to take that freedom away from Americans.”
He added, “we’re not going to let that happen.”
All Americans should be concerned that an advocacy group appears to be manipulating the marketplace in an attack on free speech. pic.twitter.com/QRv7bxtwhR
— Attorney General Andrew Bailey (@AGAndrewBailey) December 12, 2023