Can the US government review Elon Musk’s Twitter deal?

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Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter was a bit of a roller coaster ride. It was on, it was off, it was on again, there were legal issues, but eventually it went over the edge. Musk stamped his authority by removing former executives and disbanding the board.

But the could yet be another twist in the story as Democratic lawmakers called for an investigation into the purchase. Democratic Senator Chris Murphy called on the federal government to look into Musk’s ties to foreign governments, particularly Saudi Arabia.

Social media companies and foreign influence

Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal owns a $1.9 billion stake in Twitter, making him the company’s second largest shareholder. bin Talal is the grandson of the first Saudi king, Abdulaziz. US-Saudi relations are at their lowest in years after the Saudi state kills US citizen Jamal Khashoggi and the Saudi refusal to support American oil ambitions.

“We should fear that the Saudis, who have a clear interest in suppressing political speech and impacting US politics, are now the second largest owner of a major social media platform“Murphy said in a Tweeter In Monday.

“There is a clear national security issue at stake and CFIUS should do a reviewMurphy said. He also noted that another huge social media site in the United States, TikTok, is owned by a Chinese company.

The CFIUS is the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. The CFIUS examines takeovers of American companies by foreigners.

According to the CFIUS 2021 Annual Report to Congress, the panel has the power to “review ongoing or completed transactions” if a member of the committee believes there are national security concerns. A notable moment when CFIUS was called upon to act was the sale of Grindr from a Chinese company to an American company in 2019. The committee had concerns about user data security surrounding AIDS and HIV information. .

Neither the White House nor the Treasury Department has commented on Murphy’s call, and CFIUS does not make public the transactions it investigates.

Musk had no comment.

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