January 6 Commission Can Obtain Telephone Records of AZGOP Leader Kelly Ward and Her Husband

The congressional committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol has the right to see the phone records of Arizona Republican President Kelly Ward and her husband Michael, a federal judge ruled Thursday.

The subpoena requested the House Select Committee on January 6 to obtain telephone records from T-Mobile between November 1, 2020, through January 31, 2021, for four phone numbers associated with Wards and Michael Ward’s businesses, Mole Medical Services. Both wings were among Arizona Republicans who were fake voters and signed a fake document claiming Donald Trump won the state in the 2020 election.

The Wards filed a lawsuit in February challenging the subpoena for the phone records, arguing that they were “too extensive,” Wards said, because they “had nothing to do with the issuing committee’s enabling decision” and did not establish a clear link between the records and potential legislation.

They also argued that the subpoena violated their First Amendment rights and the state’s Republican Party, and argued that the subpoena was illegal because the committee was violating House rules. Wards, who are two physicians, told the court that handing over the phone records would violate Arizona law protecting patient and physician privilege and HIPAA, the federal law that governs the privacy of medical information.

On Thursday, Federal District Judge Diane Humitiwa dismissed all those arguments. In an 18-page judgment, I wrote that the commission’s work had a legitimate and not illegal purpose—and thus prevented a lawsuit from being brought against the federal government.

“This three-month period is clearly relevant to her investigation into the causes of the January 6 attack,” she wrote. “The Court therefore has little doubt in concluding that these records may aid in the proper legislative purpose of the Select Committee.”

Humitiwa also noted that federal courts have no oversight role with respect to US House rules, rejecting Wards’ argument that the committee has fewer members than the mandate decision required.

The judge also flatly rejected the claim that the records would entrap anyone who called or texted Kelly Ward “would become embroiled in the largest criminal investigation in US history” and be subjected to harassment or political persecution by Democrats, in violation of First Amendment rights. .

Humetewa said the argument was “extremely speculative” and Wards “provided no evidence to support their claim that producing phone numbers associated with this account would discourage association rights for plaintiffs or the Arizona Republican Party.” Nor did they make more than “a compelling claim” that complying with the subpoena would result in harassment of themselves or anyone else.

The judge also dismissed claims that state and federal medical privacy laws would be violated if phone records were turned over. Even if state law was in place—Humitiwa didn’t say—the constitutional power of Congress exceeded its authority to conduct investigations that could lead to legislation. She also said that Wards’ claims that the phone number would reveal confidential information was “unbelievable”.

Humetewa said the Wards did not cite case law to support their argument that the Federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, protects their phone records. Furthermore, she said the subpoena was issued to T-Mobile, not Wards, and that the mobile carrier is not bound by HIPAA.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: