Commentary: Big Tech Is Breaking Campaign Finance Laws Openly Campaigning on Behalf of Democrats

by Julie Kelly

 

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 Grenell, 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.

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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.
Photo “Joe Biden” by Gage Skidmore CC2.0.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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