Republican congressional candidate Laura Loomer filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) against Twitter on Monday, alleging that the company has made an in-kind contribution to her political opponents by denying her access to the platform.
Loomer is represented by Charlie Spies, an attorney who has fought numerous high-profile FEC cases.
In a comment, Spies stated, “This is a first-of-its-kind complaint and takes into account the influential role that social media corporations play in our elections.”
Spies continued, “Once Ms. Loomer became a federal candidate, it became illegal for Twitter to ban her while providing free access to her Democrat opponent. Corporate-owned public forums like Twitter must either provide equal time and access for all candidates for public office, or charge market value. Twitter should not be exempt from Equal Time laws, and a violation like the one occurring with Ms. Loomer is an impermissible in-kind corporate contribution to her opponent.”
The Equal Times laws referenced by Spies have long been in effect and state that broadcasters must give equal time to any political candidate who requests it. In other words, if a Democrat is allowed five minutes of airtime on a radio or TV station, their Republican opponent must be allowed the same amount of time.
Applied to social media platforms, this would imply that if a Democrat candidate is allowed unlimited access to a service like Twitter, then their opponent must be allowed the same level of access. Loomer’s complaint alleges that by granting her political opponents access to the platform while denying it to her, Twitter is making an illegal in-kind contribution to those opponents.
“Twitter has become a primary method of communication for candidates and elected officials to speak directly to their supporters without the filter of the media,” concluded Spies. “President Trump proved this in 2016 and continues the practice today. Twitter’s continued ban against Laura Loomer, prevents her campaign from having equal access that is required under the law.”
The full FEC complaint can be read hereunder
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