Is Big Tech Breaking Campaign Finance Laws

A mayoral candidate in Texas was arrested October 8 and charged with 84 counts of mail application ballot fraud; Zul Mohamed, running for mayor of Carrollton, forged nearly one hundred voter registration applications. “At the time of arrest, Mohamed was in the process of stuffing envelopes with additional mail ballot applications for neighboring Dallas County,” law enforcement officials reported. He also was charged with 25 counts of “unlawful possession of an official mail in ballot” and faces up to 20 years in prison.

The incident was just one more in a string of reports last week about rampant voter fraud.

But facts are a tough thing for our Big Tech overlords to accept. The day after the Texas arrest, Twitter issued another election-related decree allowing the company to censor and suppress posts critical of mail-in voting. 

In September—the same month the company’s public policy director left to join Joe Biden’s transition team—Twitter announced a “Civic Integrity” policy informing users how the platform would be monitored before and after Election Day. “We will label or remove false or misleading information about how to participate in an election or other civic process,” the policy warns.

Posts deemed inaccurate about “election rigging, ballot tampering, [and] vote tallying” will be subjected to Twitter’s heavy hand. The new policy will enable Twitter censors to slap an alert that reads “This is disputed” and redirect users to what it considers “credible information.” An example cited by the company in its announcement shows a user comment flagged for expressing concern about unreliable results from mail-in votes.

The platform also pledged to give “context” to trending topics—purportedly so users get an idea why a subject is popular and “to reduce the potential for misleading information to spread.” On Sunday, the company added a disclaimer to the “82% of Americans” trend, which referred to the percentage of Americans who will see a tax hike if Biden repeals the 2017 tax cut. Twitter cautioned users that the figure promoted by RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel “creates some mathematical inconsistencies.”

This is part of Big Tech’s crackdown on the president and Republicans headed into Election Day. Several Trump tweets criticizing mail-in ballots already have been flagged; Twitter last week locked the account of Richard Grennell, the former acting Director of National Intelligence and popular Trump advisor, for posting a photo of mail-in ballots sent to the long-dead parents of his friend in California.

The company’s denial of legitimate and widespread examples of vote-by-mail fraud amounts to one thing: Electioneering on behalf of the Democratic Party. Twitter, of course, isn’t alone. Facebook, Instagram, and Google are imposing similar restrictions. Mark Zuckerberg, under immense pressure from left-wing activists to ban any content that contradicts their narrative, warned that election results won’t be finalized for weeks after Election Day to make sure “all the votes are counted,” a central Biden campaign theme. Big Tech will ban posts by any candidate, including the president, who declares victory before results officially are certified.

Big Tech corporations undoubtedly are helping Democrats in 2020—and it might be against the law. It’s no secret that Democratic Party oligarchs who rule Silicon Valley want Donald Trump out of the White House. As I reported earlier this month, Big Tech billionaires including Google’s Eric Schmidt and Snapchat’s Evan Spiegel are declared foes of the president; LinkedIn’s Reed Hoffman plans to spend $100 million this election cycle to elect Biden and Democrats.

But corporations themselves are forbidden from directly donating to political candidates or office holders. “[C]orporations organized by authority of any law of Congress are prohibited from making a contribution…in connection with any election to any political office, including local, State and Federal offices, or in connection with any primary election or political convention or caucus held to select candidates for any political office, including any local, State or Federal office,” according to federal election regulations.

There are plenty of ways around this law; corporations form political action committees that can in turn donate to politicians. Executives, board members, and employees can directly contribute or otherwise engage in political activity, as is their constitutional right.

It is clear, however, that Big Tech corporations are violating the spirit if not the letter of the law. The policy of every social media and Internet company blatantly favors Democrats and cripples Republicans—and not in a minor way. Twitter, Facebook, Google, and Snapchat dominate their respective spaces online; even as alternatives such as Parler gain ground, their influence is infinitesimal compared to the near-monopolistic stranglehold of the Silicon Valley oligarchy.

It would be nearly impossible to calculate the total amount of “in-kind” donations these policies represent to the Biden campaign and Democratic Party but it’s likely in the range of hundreds of millions of dollars, which also would flagrantly violate campaign finance law. Of how much value to the Democratic Party is an orchestrated effort to silence any criticism of mail-in voting? How valuable is it to Joe Biden if Twitter runs interference on his tax plan or his numerous flip-flops on coronavirus, mask mandates, or court packing? How much value is a censored post on the president’s account when not one Democratic candidate, including Joe Biden, is subjected to the same level of scrutiny?

“This is a legal gray area,” Jon Schweppe, director of policy for the American Principles Project, told American Greatness on Sunday. “These platforms could be violating campaign finance law by limiting the message of one candidate and helping the message of another. When Twitter editorializes on behalf of one candidate, it’s arguable that constitutes a material contribution to that campaign.” The conservative think tank sent a letter to the Federal Election Commission in August on behalf of congressional candidate Laura Loomer, who has been banned by nearly every tech company including Facebook and Twitter, which gives her Democratic opponent a huge advantage.

Schweppe notes that the FEC, the agency tasked with enforcing federal campaign law, is short a commissioner and can’t even reach a quorum in order to conduct business. (Even if they could, the agency is a joke. Ellen Weintraub, a Democratic activist and former Perkins Coie lawyer, remains on the board even though her term expired years ago. She routinely trolls the president on Twitter.)

The courts might be the only venue for relief. “A lot of enterprising young lawyers will have a real shot at being successful by looking at this unchartered territory,” Schweppe said. “The Trump campaign should look at all of its options right now.”

The president, the Justice Department, and Congressional Republicans have fixated on reining in biased, Big Tech companies by eliminating Section 230 protections. Time and resources, however, might be better spent pursuing legal recourse against these companies for openly campaigning on behalf of Democrats in possible violation of federal law. Another angle could involve accusing the Biden campaign and Democratic Party of failing to report in-kind campaign contributions from Big Tech behemoths during the 2020 election cycle. Since this is indeed unchartered territory, plenty of options are on the table.

But the GOP and Team Trump shouldn’t dawdle. It’s too late for remediation before Election Day but a judgment in their favor could have a lasting impact in future elections. At this point, Republicans have nothing to lose.

About Julie Kelly

Julie Kelly is a political commentator and senior contributor to American Greatness. She is the author of Disloyal Opposition: How the NeverTrump Right Tried―And Failed―To Take Down the President Her past work can be found at The Federalist and National Review. She also has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, The Hill, Chicago Tribune, Forbes, and Genetic Literacy Project. After college graduation, she served as a policy and communications consultant for several Republican candidates and elected officials in suburban Chicago. She also volunteered for her local GOP organization. After staying home for more than 10 years to raise her two daughters, Julie began teaching cooking classes out of her home. She then started writing about food policy, agriculture, and biotechnology, as well as climate change and other scientific issues. She graduated from Eastern Illinois University in 1990 with a degree in communications and minor degrees in political science and journalism. Julie lives in suburban Chicago with her husband, two daughters, and (unfortunately) three dogs.

Photo: Jason Reed/Getty Images

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

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14 responses to “Is Big Tech Breaking Campaign Finance Laws

  • If only we had an AG and DOJ that cared about such things, perhaps some prosecutions would occur. But now it can only happen after the election, and perhaps into 2025. Barr gotta go!!!

  • The system is rigged by socialist dems. They can’t win on the merits so they’ll cheat their way to victory and power.

  • LIBERAL JOHN ROBERTS!
    Legal action has clearly been an option for over a decade. And just as clearly a waste of time and $.
    Liberal Roberts will rule against us. As he has from ’08 to ’17 and again from ’19 to now.

    The ROI on this investment is at best zero; likely negative!

    For this tactic we must not have a far left Chief Justice.

  • Easy money is like a flood. Campaign finance laws are like sandbags. They were promoted, and on the part of some sincerely intended, to prevent the purchase of political influence by an oligarchy, but they function to prevent its exercise by you while channeling power to the sources of the floods.

  • Julie, on this one I disagree with you. My thesis is that to most politicians and bureaucrats in Washington, this situation is like manna from heaven. By allowing (and in some cases urging) private tech companies to stifle certain speech, Washington is achieving–through the backdoor–censorship that would otherwise be unconstitutional.

    What we have, essentially, is the equivalent of telephone companies interrupting your conversation to “contextualize” or outright cut off something you are saying. Section 230 protections are PRECISELY the problem–and the fact that governments all over the Western world let them alone tells you what you need to know about their perceived usefulness to our élites.

    Sure, they are also violating campaign finance law, but this is like nailing Al Capone for minor tax evasion. The problem is that these companies have become essential platforms, while also being used to silence certain political speech and boost another without any legal repercussions. Want to open the gates for “enterprising young lawyers” to “have a real shot at being successful” suing the pants off these deep-pocketed behemoths? Eliminate section 230 protections.

    Let’s start by taking this all the way up to the Supreme Court. This is backdoor censorship–it doesn’t matter if it’s not legislated through congress.

    • Also (I would have added this to my original comment, but this pathetic comment system doesn’t have an edit function): by focusing on campaign-finance violation, we are missing the much larger picture of speech unrelated to elections. Macroscopic example from this year: “pandemical correctness” being forced down our throats while dissenting voices from prominent scientists and doctors are censored. Unrelated to elections but hugely important. Ditto for global warming, so-called racism and a plethora of other issues.

      No, eliminating section 230 protections is the only way to go.

  • The civil war cannot come soon enough, and it needs to wipe these companies out

  • Whether or not “Big Tech is breaking campaign finance laws” is irrelevant. It’s a smoke screen for the truth – Democrats – the American political Left – have fully infiltrated several industries. These people are united in an ideology that is diametrically opposed to Americanism. They are members of a Death Cult, and they’d happily see you marched off to die at the hands of their more violent fellow travelers.

  • A UCLA professor studied the impact of media bias, skeptical that he would find any materiall effect. He ended up estimating that media bias created a 16% shift toward democrats in elections. Estimates from Robert Epstein, a non-conservative/non Trump supporter, estimates that Big Tech shifted as many as 12 million votes during the midterms. It is likely the republicans would have held onto the House had the Russian Collusion Hoax not dominated the media and big tech for the first two years of the Trump administration. These companies are having a material impact on our democracy and must be stopped.

  • Hmmm, so they fund anarchists and violent, murdering thugs who loot and destroy public and private property, maim and kill citizens who try to defend themselves and others; suppress/dilute our votes by encouraging and abetting voting by non-citizens; violate our rights to Free Expression, discriminate against American citizens in hiring practices, engage in employment terrorism by getting others fired from their jobs because they disagree with them? In my my mind the appropriate response to these people is the same one Sam Adams had towards the British crown. I understand tar is very difficult to get out of one’s skin and hair?

  • Protection from viewpoint discrimination.

    Julie Interesting proposal, Clearly something must be done! However, or in addition to this approach, I believe that speech, and particularly political speech, should be a Civil Right under the Civil Rights act. In addition to addressing Big Tech bias it would go a long way towards ending “Cancel” culture; people being fired for expressing their beliefs / viewpoints outside of work, denied services in restaurants and from Big Tech because they express their viewpoints.

    Imagine the field day Trial lawyers will have looking for disparate impact in Tech companies.

    On first blush you may think this will never get passed in Congress, or it will take too long. However some enterprising attorneys could take this up to the supreme court as was done for LGBTQ beliefs.

  • Once again the spineless republicans are caught sitting on their hands sucking their thumb instead of cold cocking the competition. What is Ellen Weintraub doing still on the board when her position expired a year ago? If that worthless board can operate with one vacancy it can operate with two! So throw her off and change the locks!
    Furthermore, who here believes that even half of this underhanded bs would be going on if Comey, Clapper, Brennan, Strzok, Clinton, Lois Lerner and 10 or 20 more were already convicted and serving 20+ year sentences with their government pensions revoked? They continue to undermine the Constitution because no one is enforcing it!

  • Hi there! This post could not be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my previous room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this write-up to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!

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