- Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wrote a letter to the SEC asking the agency to investigate mining company Palantir ahead of its public debut, which it made on Wednesday.
- Among the congresswoman’s concerns is Palantir’s long-standing trend for secrecy, which she wrote could harm future investors.
- Other concerns listed are its domestic and foreign contracts, including ICE, law enforcement and foreign governments which “may present human rights risks”.
- Palantir, a famous Silicon Valley startup founded in 2003, has a reputation for being reserved and was recently scrutinized prior to its direct listing.
- Visit the Business Insider home page for more stories.
Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wrote a letter to the US Securities and Exchange Commission in mid-September asking the agency to investigate the secret data company Palantir as the company drew attention with its stock market debut.
In the letter, the congressman listed several concerns related to the Silicon Valley startup founded by Peter Thiel. But his main complaint was the startup̵
According to Representative Ocasio-Cortez, one of these partial omissions was the funding received from In-Q-Tel, the venture capital arm of the CIA. A 2009 Palantir shareholder report revealed that In-Q-Tel held a 10% stake in Palantir, but the company’s 2020 S-1 filing did not state whether that investment is still in play or how many shares Palantir In-Q Tel holds. Palantir is listed as one of In-Q-Tel’s portfolio companies on the risk arm website.
Palantir’s contracts with foreign governments were also cited, some of which involve governments “known to engage in corrupt practices and human rights violations”, such as Qatar, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez wrote in the letter.
Palantir’s internal contracts have also drawn criticism. His contract with US immigration and law enforcement was reviewed by 15 members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, who questioned whether Palantir was sharing people’s health data with ICE. Data privacy was another concern in Ocasio-Cortez’s letter to the SEC.
Palantir denied sharing the data between the different federal agencies. A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services also denied that the data was shared.
Ocasio-Cortez also reported to the SEC a lack of transparency regarding corporate governance oversight of board member Alexander Moore and Palantir regarding a $ 25.9 million personal cargo carried by co-founder Stephen Cohen. The congresswoman also questioned the company’s motive behind identifying it as an “emerging growth company,” a move she said allowed her to withhold some information from her S-1 archive. Palantir did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
The letter is another example of public attention on Palantir as the company makes an early stock market debut. The startup was founded in 2003 and has established itself in Silicon Valley, reputed to have achieved coveted unicorn status, or the language of the Valley for private companies that are worth over $ 1 billion. But Palantir’s controversial co-founder Peter Thiel and his lack of transparency also contributed to the company’s notoriety.
Palantir began trading Wednesday on the NYSE at $ 10 per share and is valued at $ 17 billion.
Read the letter from Representative Ocasio-Cortez 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.