Democrats ask hotel, rental car chains to help find Capitol rioters and prevent more attacks
House Democrats on Friday asked more than two dozen private companies to take action to prevent domestic terror threats following last week’s deadly invasion of the U.S. Capitol by President Donald Trump’s supporters.
The companies were asked to boost their screening measures and preserve all service requests and reservation records produced in January, which could be used as evidence that helps identify those involved in the mob.
“While the inciters and attackers bear direct responsibility for the siege on the Capitol and will be held fully accountable, they relied on a range of companies and services to get them there and house them once they arrived,” House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., wrote in her letters to the companies.
The Oversight Committee sent the letters as law enforcement authorities prepare for potentially more violence ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration next Wednesday. Officials fear that extremists are targeting statehouses around the country, as people online are attempting to organize pro-Trump rallies.
Lawmakers of both parties have called for investigations into the siege of the Capitol, which forced a joint session of Congress into hiding and left five dead, including a Capitol Police officer.
Maloney sent letters to 27 hotel, bus and rental car companies, including the Hyatt and Hilton hotel chains and the online travel company Expedia.
The other companies are Greyhound, Megabus, BoltBus, Lux Bus America, Vamoose, Jefferson Lines, Peter Pan, Flixbus, RedCoach, Enterprise, Hertz, Avis, National, Alamo, Budget, Dollar, Thrifty, Intercontinental Hotels Group, Accor Group, Choice Hotels, Marriott, Best Western International, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts and Extended Stay America.
Maloney also asked the companies to send her committee by Jan. 29 all “policies and procedures currently in place or being developed to ensure that your services are not used to facilitate violence or domestic terrorism.”
Maloney’s letters noted that Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser has urged Americans to stay away from her city during the inauguration. National Guard troops are being deployed to the nation’s capital in order to deter potential violence.
The letters also cited actions that have already been taken by some companies, including Airbnb, which canceled all D.C.-area reservations during inauguration week and is blocking any new bookings during that time.
FBI Director Christopher Wray on Thursday said more than 100 arrests have been made in connection with the riot at the Capitol.
Among the arrests are a Delaware resident and his father, who was photographed holding the Confederate flag in the building, and a retired firefighter charged with throwing a fire extinguisher at police officers.
“We know you’re out there and FBI agents are coming to find you,” Wray said.