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Missouri AG Andrew Bailey Accuses Media Matters of Running to DC Court ‘to Evade Missouri Law’

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey says Media Matters For America (MMFA) appears to be “running to a DC court to evade Missouri law” after the far-left watchdog petitioned a federal court in the District of Columbia to enter an order that would force the courts in the state of Missouri to stop adjudicating his lawsuit.

Bailey filed suit against Media Matters in March after the nonprofit refused to turn over documents related to its solicitation of donations to pressure advertisers into pulling out of X (formerly Twitter).

“I’m not going to let an activist group stonewall us as we work to uncover the truth,” Bailey said at the time. “If there has been any attempt to defraud Missourians in order to trample on their free speech rights, I will root it out and hold bad actors accountable.”

After Media Matters filed its motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction in the D.C. District Court, Bailey accused the group of “attempting to shut down Missouri courts.”

“They filed a motion to HALT our investigation and lawsuit into their fraudulent practices,” Bailey wrote on X.  “D.C. courts have no say over Missouri courts. I have filed a motion to protect our ability to litigate in Missouri.”

In his court filing, Bailey noted: “The Supreme Court has not minced words, saying that the very thing Media Matters tries here imposes ‘evils’ on federal courts.”

It is thus no wonder that other federal courts regularly reject attempts by parties like Media Matters to challenge state subpoenas in federal court when a state proceeding is already ongoing. E.g., Backpage.com, LLC v. Hawley, No. 4:17-CV-1951, 2017 WL 5726868 (E.D. Mo. Nov. 28, 2017) (citing Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971)). And rightly so. As the Supreme Court has long made clear, including recently, federal courts lack equity jurisdiction to issue orders that have the effect of shutting down existing state court proceedings. Media Matters can raise every one of its arguments in Missouri state court.

“We’re going to keep this suit in Missouri, where it belongs,” Bailey wrote on X. “Media Matters can’t run to a DC court to evade Missouri law.”

The Missouri AG announced that he had launched an investigation into Media Matters in December 2023 after evidence came to light that the lefty “watchdog” had  solicited donations from Missourians under false pretenses to target X. Bailey contends s that the group’s efforts were in “direct violation of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act.”

His lawsuit alleges that Media Matters “lied to the public” when it falsely claimed that fringe, extremist content regularly appeared next to content from corporate advertisers.

“The organization deceitfully manipulated X’s algorithm to place advertisers’ content next to contrived controversial posts, causing X to suffer astronomical financial losses when affected advertisers pulled their money from the site,” Bailey said in a press release back in March.

Baily also contended that Media Matters “used this coordinated, inauthentic activity to solicit charitable donations from consumers across the country.”

“My office has reason to believe Media Matters used fraud to solicit donations from Missourians in order to bully advertisers into pulling out of X, the last social media platform dedicated to free speech in America, so we launched an investigation to get to the bottom of it,” said Attorney General Bailey. “However, Media Matters has a sordid history of refusing to cooperate with investigations. I’m not going to let this activist group stonewall us. If there has been any attempt to defraud Missourians in order to trample on their free speech rights, I will root it out and hold bad actors accountable.”

Bailey’s lawsuit described Media Matters as a far-left activist group “masquerading as a news outlet” that employs deceptive practices to take down political enemies.

“Media Matters, a self-styled not-for-profit ‘progressive research and information center,’ envisions itself monitoring, analyzing, and correcting ‘conservative misinformation’ in the U.S. media. In fact, this description falls far short of reality for this political activist organization. Instead, rather than passively ‘monitoring,’ Media Matters has used fraud to solicit donations from Missourians in order to trick advertisers into removing their advertisements from X, formerly Twitter, one of the last platforms dedicated to free speech in America.”

The suit further noted, “Media Matters has pursued an activist agenda in its attempt to destroy X, because they cannot control it. And because they cannot control it, or the free speech platform it provides to Missourians to express their own viewpoints in the public square, the radical ‘progressives’ at Media Matters have resorted to fraud to, as Benjamin Franklin once said, mark X ‘for the odium of the public, as an enemy to the liberty of the press.’ Missourians will not be manipulated by ‘progressive’ activists masquerading as news outlets, and they will not be defrauded in the process.”

The suit also asserted: “Based on serious allegations of false and deceptive behavior, the Attorney General’s Office has issued a Civil Investigative Demand (‘CID’), as authorized by Missouri Law, to Media Matters to investigate possible violations of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act. Because Media Matters has refused such efforts in other states and made clear that it will refuse any such efforts, the Attorney General seeks an order from the Court, 2 pursuant to section 407.090, compelling Media Matters to comply with the CID within 20 days.”

“Media Matters has been outspoken in its attempts to defame X and Elon Musk for their refusal to censor disfavored viewpoints,” Bailey noted on X.

Musk thanked Bailey on X, saying: “Much appreciated! Media Matters is doing everything it can to undermine the First Amendment. Truly an evil organization.”

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About Debra Heine

Debra Heine is a conservative Catholic mom of six and longtime political pundit. She has written for several conservative news websites over the years, including Breitbart and PJ Media.

Photo: WASHINGTON - JANUARY 10: Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey arrives to testify during the House Homeland Security Committee hearing on "Havoc in the Heartland: How Secretary Mayorkas' Failed Leadership Has Impacted the States" on Wednesday, January 10, 2024. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)