Delavan, WI — Republican U.S. House candidate Paul Nehlen has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission naming Twitter, Inc. (“Twitter”) as a respondent. The full text of the complaint may be read here PAUL NEHLEN TWITTER FEC COMPLAINT.
“Sometimes you are ready and in the right place, but you are waiting for the right time to come along,” Nehlen began. “The right time is upon us to demand Twitter be held to account for what we contend are illegal business practices resulting in violations of corporate contribution and/or expenditure prohibitions established the Federal Election Campaign Act (“FECA”), 52 U.S.C. § 30101, et seq. and Commission regulations, including violations of 11 C.F.R. § 110.13(b)(2) and (c) related to staging organizations responsibilities for candidate debates; and has actively interfered with certain viewpoints, particularly those of conservatives or Republicans. Twitter’s interference with elections must stop now.”
“Second, we assert that Twitter banned me from the platform for the purpose of influencing the 2018 mid-term election by making in-kind contributions to my political opponents: Democratic candidates vying for Paul Ryan’s seat as the U.S. Representative from Wisconsin’s First Congressional District.”
“Third, we contend that as an interactive-news coverage website, Twitter operates as a debate platform for political candidates running for office, yet Twitter uses subjective criteria, rather than objective criteria (as required by 11 C.F.R. § 110.13(b)(2) and (c)) when it decides which political candidates will be allowed to debate each other on its debate platform.”
52 U.S.C. § 30109(a)(2) provides that: “If the commission, upon receiving a complaint…has reason to believe that a person has committed, or is about to commit, a violation of [FECA]…[t]he Commission shall make an investigation of such alleged violation…”
A “reason to believe” finding followed by an investigation would be appropriate when a complaint credibly alleges that a significant violation may have occurred, but further investigation is required to determine whether a violation in fact occurred and, if so, its exact scope.” 72 Fed. Reg. 12545 (March 16, 2007)
“Twitter has long been criticized by users for favoring liberal speech on its platform over conservative speech, a bias that appears to have been confirmed by former and current employees admitting on a hidden camera that Twitter utilizes techniques to “shadow-ban” and otherwise limit the reach of conservative accounts. Conrado Miranda, a former Twitter software engineer, admitted to an undercover journalist for Project Veritas that Twitter routinely bans specific users from the platform at the request of foreign governments. Twitter initially responded to the Project Veritas video by dishonestly denying that it ever shadow-bans accounts, however, just this past week Twitter has since backtracked on this position after Vice News confronted Twitter with screenshots that show that the Republican Party chair Ronna McDaniel, several conservative Republican congressmen, and Donald Trump Jr.’s spokesman do not appear in the auto-populated drop-down search box on Twitter. The unfolding of this story has drawn the attention of President Trump, who like myself, is a stalwart defender of free speech.”
“In my case,” Nehlen affirms,” each and every time I was reprimanded by Twitter for using lawful debate speech on their platform, the reprimand was proceeded by several emails from Twitter affirming that I had not, in fact, broken their Terms of Service [TOS]. When I was banned permanently from the platform for lawful speech, I received twenty-three emails from Twitter affirming that I had not, in fact, violated Twitter’s Terms of Service.”
“In the case of Patrick Little running in California, Twitter indefinitely locked Patrick’s account, contingent upon him deleting several campaign tweets. Twitter has also banned Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn’s campaign video mentioning “baby body parts.”
After the 2016 election, Twitter took its first significant step in limiting the political speech it disagrees with by creating the Twitter Trust and Safety Council. Twitter claims the purpose of the Trust and Safety Council is to work with “safety advocates” to “prevent abuse.”
“However, organizations that make up the Trust and Safety Council are almost entirely left-leaning organizations who monitor speech online: for example, the Dangerous Speech Project, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the Anti-Defamation League.”
“I am calling on Congressmen Mark Meadows, Jim Jordan, Matt Gaetz, Devin Nunes, Dana Rohrabacher, and Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn to present and co-sponsor my concise “Shall Not Censor” proposal (linked here and reprinted directly below) as the final solution to the censorship problem we face with mega-Corporate monopolies such as Twitter, FaceBook, and YouTube, who enjoy Section 230 protections in the Communications Decency Act (“CDA”) against user’s speech on their platforms, all the while censoring debate speech of candidates and prospective future candidates in this great nation of ours.”
“Let’s Make Freedom Of Speech Great Again,” Nehlen concluded.