Minority parliamentary leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) Threatened this week retaliate against telecom and tech companies who comply with a House committee request to keep call tapes for certain individuals linked to the Jan.6 attack on Capitol Hill. Mccarthy also warned – wrongly, according to legal experts – that keeping such records would be illegal.
One of the only voices publicly defending McCarthy’s dubious request is Federal Communications Commission member Brendan Carr, who oversees telecommunications companies.
But neither Carr nor McCarthy have mentioned their obvious conflict of interest as they echo the other’s arguments: Carr is married to McCarthy’s general counsel, Machalagh Carr.
She was McCarthy’s general counsel since march 2019, according to his account on Legistorm, a database of biographical information on Capitol Hill staff members. And as counsel to the GOP leader, she almost certainly helped draft a statement from McCarthy on Tuesday claiming telecom companies would engage in illegal behavior – the same claim her husband echoed in his capacity as commissioner of the FCC.
Companies that comply with the House committee’s request “are breaking federal law and risk losing their ability to operate in the United States,” McCarthy tweeted Tuesday. “If companies still choose to violate a federal law, a Republican majority will not forget and will stand alongside the Americans to hold them fully accountable before the law,” he threatened.
McCarthy has not cited any law to support his claim that this is illegal. In fact, several experts have said it’s perfectly legal that Congress ask companies to keep recordings of calls and that they don’t know what McCarthy is talking about. The House committee also did not request that the call logs be returned; he asked companies to avoid destroying files in the event that future summons were brought against them.
Yet on Thursday McCarthy continued with his legal claim. He retweeted a Wall Street Journal Editorial Board article with comments from Brendan Carr backing his argument.
“FFederal law requires telecommunications carriers to protect the privacy and confidentiality of Americans’ call recordings, “the FCC commissioner said, warning that his agency” has taken enforcement action against carriers to ensure their compliance ”.
Brendan Carr also tweeted the Wall Street Journal article, adding: “The claim that a single congressman has the uncontrolled power to secretly obtain the private data of any American he chooses is as drastic as it is frightening. Fortunately, this claim is false.
Not only does it appear that Brendan Carr is using his position to protect his wife’s boss, but his echoing the GOP leader’s claims in his role as FCC commissioner could certainly be seen as an effort to intimidate them. telecommunications companies – the same. he has oversight over – to comply with the request of the House committee.
Carr did not immediately respond to a request for comment on why he had not disclosed his direct connection to McCarthy’s office.
McCarthy’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
This article originally appeared on The HuffPost and has been updated.