Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., will resign from Congress to become chief executive of former President Donald Trump’s fledgling social media company next month, the group said on 6 December.
In January, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, Nunes, will start as CEO of Trump Media & Technology Group, or TMTG, the firm said in a press release.
The press release came hours after documents revealed that the unique purpose acquisition company — or SPAC — that plans to merge with Trump’s company is being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC and another regulator had asked the SPAC, Digital World Acquisition Corp. or DWAC, for information about the lead-up to the deal with TMTG being announced.
Shares of DWAC rose more than 7% in after-hours trading following the announcement that Nunes had been tapped to lead TMTG.
The opportunity cost for Nunes
Nunes is just the second member of the 117th Congress to resign before the end of his term. If the GOP regains majority control of the House in the 2022 midterm elections, Nunes would have been in line to become chairman of the influential, tax-writing Ways and Means Committee.
Strategic exit in the face of 2022 re-election
Nunes, 48, has represented California’s 22nd congressional district in the San Joaquin Valley since 2003. The San Joaquin Valley Sun, which first reported Nunes’ departure from Congress, noted that California’s redistricting maps showed Nunes may have faced a stricter reelection fight in 2022.
Education and pre-Congress work experience do not add up to CEO stature
Nunes’ biography on his congressional website shows little adventure in his pre-congressional career that would transfer to the work of a tech CEO.
His bio notes he worked from childhood on a family farm and bought farmland with his brother after starting a harvesting business with savings he accumulated from raising cattle as a teenager.
Nunes graduated from California Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural business and a master’s degree in agriculture. Before running for Congress, then-President George W. Bush in 2001 tapped Nunes to serve as California’s director of rural development for the federal Department of Agriculture.
Comments by Nunes
The Republican, who represents a rural California district, wrote a letter to constituents on Monday, saying he wanted to pursue a “new opportunity to fight for the most important issues I believe in.”
In a statement, Nunes said: “The time has come to reopen the internet and allow for the free flow of ideas and expression without censorship.”
Wall SStreet’stop financial regulators are investigating TTrump’s$1.25bn deal to float his recent social media venture on the stock market; a filing showed on Monday.
Digital World Acquisition Corporation, the blank-check acquisition firm that agreed to merge with Trump Media & Technology Group Corp (TMTG), disclosed in a regulatory filing on Monday that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (Finra) were looking at the deal.
Digital World said the SEC asked for documents in early November relating to communications between it and TMTG, meetings of its board, policies, and procedures relating to trading, the identification of banking, telephone, and email addresses, and the identities of particular investors.
The SEC stated in its request that its investigation does not mean that the regulator has concluded that anyone violated the law, Digital World said.
TMTG did not respond to requests for comment.
The Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren had asked the SEC to investigate TMTG’sTMTG’ssed merger with Digital World over potential violations of securities laws, including whether they had sufficiently disclosed when deal talks began. The SEC declined to comment.