Rep. Byron Donalds Challenges SEC’s Investigation into Rumble

Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) is warning Securities and Exchange Commission SEC chairman Gary Gensler that its investigation into the video platform Rumble could impact the 2024 presidential election, according to Breitbart.

Donalds wrote a letter to Gensler after the SEC confirmed to Wired that the financial regulator is in fact investigating Rumble.

The investigation comes after a report was released in April 2023 by Culper Research, an activist investor group. The report claimed Rumble had inflated “its monthly active user (MAU) count, a key metric for a social media company,” reported Breitbart.

Culper Research, a short seller of Rumble stock, is in a position to make a profit if Rumble’s stock were to decrease. The conflict of interest calls into question the validity of the report.

In return, Rumble CEO Chris Pavlovski denied the allegations and accused the SEC of colluding with Culper Research. Why would a powerful government agency go to such extremes?

According to Donalds, the timing of the move “reeks” of “political interference”

Donalds’ letter begins politely enough, “Dear Chairman Gensler: I write to you to express serious concerns regarding the Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into the video platform, web hosting, and cloud services business, Rumble.”

It doesn’t take Donalds long to cut to the chase.

“It is no secret that Rumble has risen to prominence by serving as the preeminent free speech alternative to Big Tech media platforms,” the letter continued.

Donalds briefly outlines Rumble’s rise in “quickly becoming one of the centerpieces of political and social discourse,” including hosting a 2023 Republican presidential primary debate.

He goes on to write the platform is now a haven for “many who were wrongfully censored or deplatformed by Big Tech, often in coordination with the federal government.”

And then comes the uppercut, “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.”

Donalds has long been an advocate for free speech and an enemy of censorship, especially when it comes to the political arena.

In a 2023 CPAC talk, he said that in the battlefield of ideas, “Let’s not suppress ideas through the backdoor because that’s the only way you can win an election.”

Donalds was referring to past government collusion with social media giants in an effort to fool the American people. It makes sense that Donalds would find the SEC’s investigation of Rumble suspicious.

In the letter, Donalds seeks answers to these questions:

If the SEC has been contacted by anyone at Culper Research

If anyone at the SEC rely on the Culper Research report in its opening of the investigation against Rumble

If the Biden administration has contacted the SEC about the Rumble investigation

As for Pavloski, in January he stated it plainly in a post on X. “The [Culper Research] report is bogus, but that doesn’t matter—it’s all to get investors to sell the stock so the short seller profits.”

But, according to Pavloski, Culper underestimated Rumble. “We saw the attacks coming, and we prepared for them. Before going public, we chose to use Google Analytics to track and report our MAUs, so we could be ready for this very moment.”

Rumble may win the battle, but the war is just beginning. Pavloski ended his post with, “This is just the start, they’re coming for us in 2024.”

With Donalds on his side, Pavloski and the Rumble team have a powerful ally in the war against government censorship.