Rep. Donalds Sounds Off On SEC Investigation Of Rumble

The release of damning documents following Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, which he later rebranded as X, sparked a wave of allegations that the federal government played an active role in influencing the 2020 presidential election via pressure exerted on social media platforms.

Ahead of November’s general election, U.S. Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) believes there is a similar effort underway, this time involving a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation of the video-sharing platform Rumble, which bills itself as a haven for users who value free speech.

Donalds recently sent a letter to SEC Chairman Gary Gensler outlining his concerns and requesting additional information about the ongoing probe.

“It is no secret that Rumble has risen to prominence by serving as the preeminent free speech alternative to Big Tech media platforms,” the Florida Republican wrote. “Having gone public in September 2022, Rumble is quickly becoming one of the centerpieces of political and social discourse.”

Noting that the platform secured “exclusive online streaming rights to the Republican presidential primary debates” last year and has offered a forum for influencers who were booted from other social media sites, Donalds argued that Rumble is positioned to have a sizable impact on the political debate throughout the remainder of the election season.

“With the presidential cycle now in full swing, the timing of this investigation suggests an effort to either implicitly or explicitly influence Rumble’s role in the 2024 election under the threat of constant litigation,” he continued.

The SEC investigation was launched following a claim by investment group Culper Research that Rumble inflated its monthly active user count. As a result, Rumble CEO Chris Pavlovski has speculated that the commission is working in collaboration with Culper Research, which has taken a short position on Rumble that would provide financial gains if the company’s stock price decreases.

In addition to requesting any contact the SEC has had with the Biden administration regarding the Rumble probe, Donalds also wants to know whether the commission has been contacted by anyone at Culper Research or has utilized the group’s report to shape its investigation.

“This is just the start, they’re coming for us in 2024,” Pavlovski wrote earlier this month. “They can’t stand Rumble’s mission, but they are going to learn quickly how hard we punch back.”