News & Politics

RNC Files FEC Complaint: Twitter Gave 'In-Kind Contribution' to Biden Campaign

AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

On Friday, the Republican National Committee (RNC) filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), condemning Twitter’s suppression of The New York Post‘s Hunter Biden bombshell story as an “in-kind contribution” to the Joe Biden campaign.

“Through its ad hoc, partisan suppression of media critical of Biden, [Twitter] is making illegal, corporate in-kind contributions as it provides unheard-of media services for Joe Biden’s campaign,” reads the RNC complaint, first obtained by Fox News. The complaint accuses Twiter of violating federal campaign finance law and urges the FEC to “impose the maximum penalty allowed under the law.”

The RNC filed the complaint after The New York Post published a blockbuster story about a “smoking gun” email allegedly proving that then-Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter introduced the VP to an executive at the notoriously corrupt Ukrainian gas company Burisma — before Joe Biden pressured the Ukrainian president to fire a prosecutor looking into Burisma. This email appears to disprove Joe Biden’s repeated claims that he never discussed Hunter Biden’s foreign business deals with his son.

Facebook announced that it was reducing the article’s distribution, even before any fact-check. Twitter also locked people out of their accounts when they tried to share the article, even cracking down on White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany. Twitter even suspended the Trump campaign’s official account — a mere 19 days before Election Day. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey admitted it was “unacceptable” for Twitter to block URL sharing via tweet or direct message “with zero context as to why we’re blocking.” Yet he nevertheless argued in favor of restricting the article on Twitter, claiming it violated the company’s “Hacked Materials Policy.”

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Yet, as PJ Media’s Matt Margolis pointed out, Twitter took no such comparable action against numerous stories that arguably fall under the Hacked Materials Policy, such as Trump’s tax returns.

The RNC filing called Twitter’s action against the story “arguably the most brazen and unprecedented act of media suppression in this country’s history, and it is doing so for the clear purpose of supporting the Biden campaign.”

Twitter blocked users from sending tweets or direct messages with links to the Post article. It even locked the accounts of users who shared the articles, including the Trump campaign, McEnany, Republicans on the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, and Politico‘s Jake Sherman. The company “took these actions before independent fact checkers had even weighed in on the accuracy of the story.”

The RNC argued that Twitter’s suppression of the Post article “provides a thing of value,” such that Twitter “is acting as Biden’s media operative, taking proactive steps to shield Biden from negative news coverage by blocking its distribution and muzzling those who try. If [Twitter] charged for this service, Biden no doubt would gladly pay a significant price.”

The RNC also noted Twitter’s documented liberal bias, noting that 98.7 percent of the company’s total political contributions went to Democrats in the 2018 cycle. “In addition, there appears to be a revolving door between the Biden campaign and the company, with [Twitter’s] Public Policy Director recently leaving to join the Biden transition team and Senator Kamala Harris’s former Press Secretary now serving as [Twitter’s] Senior Communications Manager.”

After Twitter took action against the Post story, Biden campaign national press secretary Jamal Brown claimed that Twitter’s suppression actually demonstrated that the Hunter Biden story was false.

“Twitter’s response to the actual article itself makes clear that these purported allegations are false and are not true,” Brown argued. “I’m glad to see social media companies like Twitter taking responsibility to limit misinformation.”

It will be interesting to see Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey claim this act of suppression was not an “in-kind contribution” to the Biden campaign.

Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.

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