The Republican National Committee filed a complaint against Twitter with the Federal Election Commission on Friday, equating the social media company’s censorship of reporting from the New York Post to “illegal in-kind contributions.”
Republicans are taking action against the social media giant for its censorship of reporting which links Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden to his son’s overseas business dealings.
The reporting says Hunter Biden introduced his father to a top executive at the Ukrainian energy firm Burisma, where the younger Biden served on the board, and makes other other explosive allegations as well.
The company also locked the accounts of some people who shared that reporting.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and the official Trump campaign account were among those targeted.
The RNC said in its FEC complaint that it believes “Twitter has violated [the Federal Election Campaign Act] and the Commission’s Regulations by making corporate in-kind contributions to Biden for President.”
“Twitter’s flagrant bias and direct support for one presidential candidacy over the other should result in the proper financial ramifications under our campaign finance laws,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel told Fox News.
The complaint further described Twitter as “a partisan actor, run by partisan Democrats,” and argued the company is “using its corporate resources to provide active support for Joe Biden’s campaign in violation of federal law.”
The GOP urged the FEC to “conduct an immediate investigation” into the California-based company’s “illegal in-kind contributions to the Biden campaign,” and also to “impose the maximum penalty allowed under the law.”
Republicans filed the FEC complaint one day after Senate Republicans announced they intend to subpoena Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to testify in Washington next week.
Dorsey has now made multiple public statements on his platform attempting to explain the company’s censorship actions:
— jack (@jack) October 14, 2020
Straight blocking of URLs was wrong, and we updated our policy and enforcement to fix. Our goal is to attempt to add context, and now we have capabilities to do that. https://t.co/ZLUw3YD887
— jack (@jack) October 16, 2020
“Straight blocking of URLs was wrong, and we updated our policy and enforcement to fix. Our goal is to attempt to add context, and now we have capabilities to do that,” he tweeted Friday.
Dorsey’s Friday statement seemed to indicate that the company was somewhat backing down, but it may have been too little, too late for Republicans, who see Twitter as a political actor which has has used its influence over American public discourse to go to bat for Democrats at every turn.
The Friday FEC complaint, and Twitter’s actions since Wednesday, follow years of complaints from conservatives that Twitter is not a level playing field for conservatives to engage in free expression on the platform.
On Thursday, Federal Communications Commission Chair Ajit Pai said he would work to “clarify the meaning” of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects online companies such as Twitter from facing litigation related to user-posted content.
Read my full statement below. pic.twitter.com/LhUz5XMdSC
— Ajit Pai (@AjitPaiFCC) October 15, 2020
“Social media companies have a First Amendment right to free speech,” Pai said in a statement, adding that “they do not have a First Amendment right to a special immunity denied to other media outlets, such as newspapers and broadcasters.”
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