HOUSTON — Neal Dikeman for Senate, the principal campaign committee of the Libertarian Nominee for US Senate for Texas, Neal Dikeman, filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (“FEC”) against CNN, a division of Turner Broadcasting, and Beto for Texas, the principal campaign committee of the Democratic Nominee for US Senate in Texas, Congressman Robert “Beto” O’Rourke, Oct. 15, 2018.
The complaint describes a violation of FECA, that, given Senator Ted Cruz declined to participate in CNN’s proposed Oct. 18 townhall with Beto O’Rourke, the townhall debate can no longer qualify as a debate, which requires multiple candidates, and the planned format of an hour long prime time CNN promoted, hosted and moderated townhall with a single Senate candidate instead constitutes a prohibited political contribution to Beto for Texas. Such coverage is not part of a general pattern of campaign-related news account giving reasonably equal coverage to all opposing candidates in CNN’s national service area and therefore the market value of the coverage is either a reportable political expenditure or a prohibited political contribution by a corporation.
In the complaint, the minimum estimate provided for the fair market value of CNN’s promotion, production and broadcast of the Oct. 18 town hall is $10 million, which if enforced at this level, would make it the largest single campaign finance penalty in history. If the FEC, or on further appeal the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, finds that the contribution is prohibited, Beto for Texas could be liable for repayment to CNN of the full fair market value of the prohibited contribution.
“Politics should not be about money, and corporations should not be funding politicians,” says Dikeman, “particularly in this race as Congressman O’Rourke is running fundraising campaigns touting his exclusion of special interest money. Excluding a Libertarian nominee from the debates because you think I’ll take more votes from you than the other guys is one thing, politics is politics. But violating campaign finance laws, especially on this scale is much bigger than that. The scope of this violation should give every American pause.”
Libertarian candidate Neal Dikeman is one of three nominees on the ballot for US Senator in Texas in 2018.
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