The parent company of Donald Trump’s Truth Social app was subpoenaed (pdf) on June 30 as part of a criminal investigation into its troubled attempt to go public through a blank-check company, Digital World Acquisition Corporation (DWAC).
Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG), which owns Truth Social, was subpoenaed for information about the deal along with unnamed current and former employees of TMTG. It’s unclear if Trump was among them.
DWAC disclosed its own criminal subpoenas earlier this week. The planned merger is also under a separate, active investigation by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (Finra).
A possibly fraudulent SPAC
DWAC went public in September 2021. The US government is investigating whether or not DWAC had already held merger talks with TMTG before its own IPO. If it did so, both companies could be held in violation of federal securities laws.
In October 2021, the New York Times reported that Patrick Orlando, the CEO of DWAC, held business meetings and an investor presentation with Trump in March 2021, six months before the shell company went public. Soon after, US Senator Elizabeth Warren wrote a letter to the SEC urging it to investigate whether the deal broke securities laws. “The reports about DWAC and Trump Media and Technology Group appear to be a textbook example of a SPAC misleading shareholders and the public about materially important information,” Warren wrote in her November 2021 letter (pdf).
Trump started Truth Social in October 2021 after being kicked off of Twitter, Facebook, and many other social media websites for his role in egging on insurrectionists at the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. The company, led by former US Congressman Devin Nunes, has been plagued with technical problems, staff turnover, and a low user base.