In what Libertarian Texas Senate candidate Neal Dikeman is calling the largest single campaign complaint in history, he alleges in a campaign FEC complaint that town hall meeting by CNN amounts to an illegal $10 million in-kind campaign contribution to Democrat Beto O’Rourke, reports the Texas Monthly.
Dikeman alleges in his complaint that a town hall scheduled for Thursday in McAllen violates federal election law because it will give O’Rourke an hour-long prime time forum worth millions of advertising dollars.
“Politics should not be about money, and corporations should not be funding politicians,” Dikeman said in a prepared statement. “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 guy 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.”
It was originally scheduled to be a debate with O’Rourke against Senator Ted Cruz moderated by Dana Bash, but Cruz’s campaign declined the event.
However, since Cruz declined to participate, the town hall meeting should be considered an in-kind contribution, Dikeman argues in his claim. Federal election law caps donations to federal candidates at $2,700 per election or $5,000 if it is a political action committee. Corporations such as CNN, however, are prohibited from making any kind of contribution to a candidate or a candidate’s committee.
“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,” the libertarian candidate said.