- Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes wrote a letter to the SEC asking the agency to investigate the data mining company Palantir before its stock market debut on Wednesday.
- Among the congresswoman’s concerns is Palantir’s long-standing propensity for secrecy, which she says could harm future investors.
- Other concerns listed are domestic and foreign contracts, including with the ICE, law enforcement agencies and foreign governments, which “may pose risks to human rights”.
- Palantir, a well-known Silicon Valley start-up, founded in 2003, has a reputation for secrecy and was recently scrutinized before its direct involvement.
- Visit the Business Insider homepage for more stories.
In mid-September, representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes wrote a letter to the US Securities and Exchange Commission asking the agency to investigate the secret data company Palantir, as the company attracted attention with its debut on the stock exchange.
In the letter, the congresswoman listed several concerns about the launch of Silicon Valley, founded by Peter Teale. But her main complaint is the start-up̵
According to spokesman Ocasio-Cortez, one such partial omission is the funding it received from In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s venture capital unit. A 2009 report by Palantir shareholders reveals that In-Q-Tel has a 10% stake in Palantir, but the company’s S-1 declaration for 2020 does not indicate whether this investment is still in play or how much Palantir shares c-Q- Wire holds. Palantir is listed as one of In-Q-Tel’s portfolio on the venture company’s website.
Palantir’s contracts with foreign governments, some of which include governments “known to be involved in corrupt practices and human rights abuses,” such as Qatar, were also cited, the spokesman Ocasio-Cortes said in the letter.
Palantir’s internal contracts have also drawn criticism. His contract on US immigration and customs enforcement has come to the attention of 15 members of the Spanish Congress, who have questioned whether Palantir shares human health data with ICE. Data confidentiality was another concern in Ocasio-Cortez’s letter to the SEC.
Palantir refused to share data between the various federal agencies. A spokesman for the Ministry of Health and Social Services also denied that the data had been shared.
Ocasio-Cortez also pointed to the SEC’s lack of transparency regarding board member Alexander Moore and Palantir’s corporate governance oversight of $ 25.9 million in personal cargo by co-founder Stephen Cohen. The congresswoman also questioned the company’s motive for identifying itself as a “emerging growth company,” which she said allowed it to retain certain information from its S-1. Palantir did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
The letter is another example of public control over Palantir, as the company is making its expected stock market debut. The startup was founded in 2003 and has established itself in the glory of Silicon Valley to achieve the desired unicorn status or Valley talk for private companies, valued at over $ 1 billion. But Palantir’s controversial co-founder Peter Till and lack of transparency also contributed to the company’s popularity.
Palantir started trading on the NYSE on Wednesday at $ 10 per share and is valued at $ 17 billion.
Read the letter from the Ocasio-Cortez representative below:
Disclosure: Palantir Technologies CEO Alexander Karp is a member of Axel Springer’s shareholders’ committee. Axel Springer owns Insider Inc., the parent company of Business Insider.