Archive for Bryan Metzger

Rep. Adam Kinzinger says Republicans don’t speak up about Trump because they’ll ‘be replaced by somebody like a Marjorie Taylor Greene’ if they do

Republican Reps. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois (right) and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia (left).
Republican Reps. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois (right) and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia (left).
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger, an anti-Trump Republican, explained why his colleagues don't speak up about Trump.
  • "You lose, and you'll be replaced by somebody like a Marjorie Taylor Greene," Kinzinger said.
  • Greene responded by saying Kinzinger was "irrelevant at this point."

Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois said that many of his Republican colleagues choose not to speak up about former President Donald Trump and ongoing challenges to democracy because they think they'll lose and be "replaced by somebody like a Marjorie Taylor Greene."

Kinzinger made the reference to the far-right Georgia congresswoman in an interview with Roll Call published on Tuesday. The Illinois Republican explained why he takes a vocal stand against Trump, despite most of his colleagues opting to say silent or supportive of the former President.

"It's really easy to convince yourself that you can't make a difference speaking out loudly," said Kinzinger. "The only thing that can happen is you lose, and you'll be replaced by somebody like a Marjorie Taylor Greene. And that's how these people [in Congress] convince themselves, "Hey, the best thing I can do is go limp."

Kinzinger told Roll Call that he believes "our democracy is under siege" and that "nobody else is coming."

"We have this sense as Americans that somebody else will come and save the day, because we always have," he said. "Nobody's coming, right? It's us. And I don't like the job enough to sell out the future of this country to keep it. So if it costs me my job, great. I'll go make more money and have a way easier life."

He also remarked that he figured a vote on Social Security reform would cost him his political career, rather than the current political dynamics of a former president continuing to claim the election was stolen from him.

Kinzinger is one of two House Republicans - Rep. Liz Cheney is the other - that sit on a Democratic-led select committee investigating the January 6 attack. He was also one of 10 House Republicans that voted to impeach Trump for incitement of an insurrection a week after the January 6 assault on the US Capitol. Greene, meanwhile, has claimed that rioters currently held in federal custody are "being abused."

The Illinois Republican also told Roll Call that he believes it's crucial that the narrative around January 6 is not distorted, and that doing so could imperil American democracy itself.

"If we don't get this right, and the misinformation of "peaceful protests" becomes cemented in narrative, we'll not learn anything and this democracy will be in real trouble," he said.

In an emailed statement to Insider, Kinzinger said: "The point the Congressman is making here is that too many people are so afraid of speaking out and/or telling the truth because they don't want to lose their job/sense of power or their place in the 'tribe' - and he's pointing out how sad that truly is when you look at the alternative of staying silent, or worse, echoing the lies and the fear-mongering for this so-called acceptance."

Reached for comment, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene said that Kinzinger was "irrelevant at this point."

"The only people who give him any attention are the Democrat activists in the fake news media," she said. "Who really cares?"

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Rep. Madison Cawthorn’s campaign paid a taxidermist $1,700 to create gifts to give to fundraiser hosts

Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina arrives at the Capitol for votes in the House of Representatives on March 11, 2021.
Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina arrives at the Capitol for votes in the House of Representatives on March 11, 2021.
  • Rep. Madison Cawthorn spent $1,700 on "Taxidermy by Neal Pate" at the end of August.
  • Cawthorn's campaign says they purchased gifts for people who host fundraisers for the congressman.
  • Campaign gifts like this are legal.

Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina's campaign spent $1,700 on "gifts" from a North Carolina taxidermist, which a spokesman said will be given to the hosts of future fundraisers for the 26-year-old congressman.

The campaign expense, which Cawthorn's campaign disclosed last Friday as part of routine quarterly filings with the Federal Election Commission, was made on August 31 and is described simply as "gifts for hosts."

The disclosures, which cover donations and spending for July, August, and September, show that Cawthorn raised just over $570,000 but spent roughly $615,000 during this 3 month stretch. Despite the deficit, Cawthorn's campaign reports still having nearly $373,000 in cash on hand.

The four-figure payment was made to "Taxidermy By Neal Pate" in Willow Spring, North Carolina, a small unincorporated community south of Raleigh, the state capital. Asked about the expense, a spokesperson for Cawthorn's campaign said that they "purchased several items from this vendor as gifts to be given out to fundraising hosts when they hold events with our campaign."

Cawthorn's campaign did not respond to a question about what kinds of "gifts" were purchased, and little information about the taxidermist exists online. Neal Pate did not immediately respond to an attempt to contact him via phone.

According to one website, Pate won the "Most Artistic Entry Award" in a 2009 taxidermy competition for a sculpture of a stuffed bird based on the taxidermist's "innovation, skill, artistic talent and high quality." Posts on duck-hunting forums indicate that Pate is well-regarded when it comes to stuffing birds.

Gifts for fundraiser hosts are generally permissible under federal campaign finance laws, an FEC spokesperson confirmed to Insider. He referred to a clause within the FEC's candidate guide that states that "on special occasions, campaign funds may be used to purchase gifts or make donations of nominal value to persons other than the members of the candidate's family."

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Newt Gingrich’s 2012 presidential campaign is still $4.6 million in debt. Here’s who it owes.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at Trump Tower on November 21, 2016.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at Trump Tower on November 21, 2016.
  • Nine years later, Newt Gingrich's 2012 campaign is $4.6 million in debt.
  • The campaign owes hundreds of thousands of dollars to various groups and people, including himself.
  • The FEC rejected a "debt settlement plan" by the campaign in 2016, and it's been largely inactive since.

The 2012 presidential campaign for Newt Gingrich - one-time Republican Speaker of the House, and the husband of former US Ambassador to the Vatican Callista Gingrich - still owes $4.6 million to a constellation of vendors for costs racked up during his bid.

Gingrich's "Newt 2012" committee filed its latest quarterly report with the Federal Election Commission on Monday, as it has every 3 months since 2012. It's a 46-page document detailing all the different vendors that Gingrich owes, how much he owes them, and for what.

The $4,631,534.55 figure makes Gingrich's 2012 campaign one of the most indebtedin American history. The campaign's treasurer, whose name is Taylor Swindle, files the reports every 3 months.

After the FEC rejected a debt settlement plan submitted by the committee in August 2016 - the month after he was vetted to be former President Donald Trump's vice president - the campaign appears to have largely abandoned any efforts to pay back the hundreds of thousands of dollars it owes to venders for campaign services.

That's despite Gingrich's history of raking in money from paid speeches. In the last three months, the campaign spent just $500 on "accounting services."

Here are 10 of the biggest debts owed by Gingrich's defunct campaign:

  • $977,322 to Moby Dick Airways for air travel
  • $649,117.54 to Gingrich himself for "travel"
  • $407,620.03 to Patriot Group for security services
  • $287,258 to Mckenna Long and Aldridge for legal fees
  • $210, 541.33 to CMDI for data management
  • $138,600 to Event Strategies, Inc. for event production
  • $127,727.21 to Gordon C. James Public Relations for event planning
  • $122,679.06 to AirPlus for air travel
  • $118,160.45 to Infocision for telemarketing
  • $100,000 to Crimson Hexagon for software license (disputed)

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Trump says Sen. Ben Sasse is a ‘loser,’ a ‘sleazebag,’ and a ‘quiet little boy’

Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday, March 2, 2021.
Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday, March 2, 2021.
  • In an interview with The Federalist, former President Trump excoriated Sen. Ben Sasse.
  • "You know, he's a sleazebag," Trump said.
  • "He was like a little boy. He was so well behaved," Trump said of Sasse seeking his endorsement.

Former President Donald Trump recently expressed his disdain for Sen. Ben Sasse, calling the Nebraska Republican a "loser" and a "sleazebag" and saying the senator acted like a "quiet little boy" as he sought Trump's endorsement for re-election in 2020.

Trump made the remarks in an interview with Mollie Hemingway of the Federalist, who's upcoming book "Rigged: How The Media, Big Tech, and the Democrats Seized Our Elections," is scheduled for an October 12 release.

"Terrible senator. This started right at the beginning," Trump said of Sasse, claiming that the senator was hostile towards the former president during his first meeting with the Senate's Republican caucus. "He's actually stupid, 'cause you know the problem with the Republicans is they don't stick together. You don't have Mitt Romney and Ben Sasse in the Democrat Party."

Trump spoke at length about Sasse, recounting an exchange with Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Ted Cruz of Texas, who were urging Trump to support Sasse's 2020 re-election bid.

"I say, 'Keep him out. Guy's a loser.' So they said, 'No, no, no. He wants to make peace,'" Trump told Hemingway. "He was like a little boy. He was so well behaved. He didn't say a word. And they made a case as to why I should let him back into the fold."

"You've got to see him at that meeting. He was like a quiet little boy who just sat there," Trump continued. "And they did all the talking on his behalf and you know that he couldn't have been better. He didn't say a bad thing about me for two years."

The former president would ultimately endorse Sasse, saving him a potential primary challenge. "So I end up supporting a guy who's a sleazebag. By the way, you can quote me on all this stuff," Trump said.

Reached for comment, Sasse spokesman James Wegmann said of the endorsement story, "Recycled nonsense again? Totally false. We've been clear from day one," while flagging a tweet on the matter from the August 2020.

Trump also remarked on a leaked call between Sasse and donors in October, where the Nebraska senator criticized Trump extensively.

"The way he kisses dictators' butts. I mean, the way he ignores that the Uighurs are in literal concentration camps in Xinjiang. Right now, he hasn't lifted a finger on behalf of the Hong-Kongers," Sasse reportedly said on the call. "The United States now regularly sells out our allies under his leadership, the way he treats women, spends like a drunken sailor."

"He mocks evangelicals behind closed doors," Sasse continued. "His family has treated the presidency like a business opportunity. He's flirted with white supremacists."

"He was on a phone call to his donors that he essentially leaked to the press. Okay. You know, he's a sleazebag," Trump said of the call.

Trump also hit Sasse for criticizing a planned draw-down of US troops in Germany, alleging that the senator wanted to see more troops die in Afghanistan.

"I want to bring troops out of Germany. You know, some of them, because we've got 54,000 troops in Germany costing us billions of dollars," Trump said. "Germany treats us badly on trade and many other things. And so I'm going to reduce it by 25,000. And I hear Little Ben Sasse is chipping away saying how we shouldn't do it. You know, he wants to stay in Afghanistan, let soldiers stay there and get their faces blown off, and their arms blown off for another 19 years and die."

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The FEC orders 2016 Green Party candidate Jill Stein to pay over $175,000 to the US Treasury

Jill Stein
2016 Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein.
  • The FEC ordered Jill Stein to repay $175,272 to the United States Treasury within 30 days.
  • The commission determined that she used public financing money long after she was no longer eligible.
  • The 2016 Green Party candidate is often blamed by liberals for helping elect Donald Trump.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

On Friday, the Federal Election Commission announced that 2016 Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein owed $175,272 in public financing funds to the US Treasury and must pay it within 30 days.

The announcement follows a finding that Stein continued to use public funds past the point when she was legally eligible. In total, she received $590,936 in matching fund payments for her campaign in 2016.

In fact, Stein received a payment of $134,900 in January 2017 that she was not qualified to receive, according to an audit by the commission. That figure, plus another $40,372 - roughly 20% of the $200,856 in extra money that committee had on hand following the presidential campaign - make up the roughly $175,000 figure that she now owes.

An audit of her campaign found that she "overstated" the amount of money needed for winding-down expenses while understating the amount of cash she still had left on hand. The audit also found that Stein's campaign broadly misrepresented its spending, donations, and debts, all to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Stein was approved for public funding to seek her own party's nomination in April 2016, but the commission said she was ineligible to keep using the money after the Green Party's nominating convention on August 6 of that year, since those matching funds were only for primary campaigns.

But Stein's campaign argued that she didn't have to repay the funds because her campaign was actually in the red. Stein's lawyers argued in June 2019 that her campaign was allowed to use the taxpayer money as part of efforts to gain ballot access in various states during the fall of 2016, under the reasoning that the "quest for access to the general election ballot is effectively a primary election for independent and non-major party candidates."

Stein's team also tried to raise the issue of "winding-down expenses," which may include things like paying staffers, consultants and advertisers as the campaign closes down. But the commission's legal counsel said the campaign "did not properly raise the issue."

"Merely mentioning the subject of winding down expenses in the written submission, without any explanation, reasoning, or argument - indeed, purporting to defer any elaboration to a later time - is insufficient to raise an issue for administrative review," wrote the commission's lawyers in a lengthy report on the campaign committee.

Those arguments, along with the lack of a quorum on the commission for most of 2020, caused the proceedings to drag on into 2021.

But ultimately, the commission didn't buy it, and now Stein - who Democrats have often blamed for being a "vote-spoiler" for Democrat Hillary Clinton in key swing states - is on the hook for more than $175,000.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Republican Rep. Billy Long used his skills as a former auctioneer to mock the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill

Republican Rep. Billy Long of Missouri shows off a $45 Trump bill outside of the US Capitol on May 9, 2019.
Republican Rep. Billy Long of Missouri shows off a $45 Trump bill outside of the US Capitol on May 9, 2019.
  • Rep. Billy Long mocked Democrats' reconciliation bill by pretending to be a federal spending auctioneer.
  • Long, a former long-time auctioneer, was calling attention to the price tag of the bill.
  • This isn't the first time the Republican congressman has put his auctioneering skills to use.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Republican Rep. Billy Long of Missouri, speaking on the House floor during a "one-minute speeches" session on Wednesday, used his skills as a former auctioneer to mock the Democrat's $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill.

Joining a growing GOP chorus, Long claimed that a markup of the bill had brought the overall price tag up to $4.3 trillion, greater than the $3.5 trillion price tag that has been widely reported.

The southwestern Missouri congressman is reportedly a longtime member of the National Auctioneers Association and the Missouri Professional Auctioneers' Association and was named the "Best Auctioneer in the Ozarks" for nine years straight, according to this campaign.

"I don't know exactly how that happened, but I might have a suggestion on how it could've possibly happened," Long said.

In auctioneer style, Long then listed off numbers that progressively approached $4.3 trillion. "Last call, 3 and a half - Oh! 4 trillion dollars," he said.

"And I have - sold it for $4.3 trillion," Long went on to say.

"You know, Madam Speaker, Missourian Harry Truman said when you get elected to Congress, you spend your first six months up here thinking wow, how did I ever get here? And then you spend the whole rest of your career thinking how did some of these other people get here? And if you've watched the boondoggle on the floor this week, you know exactly what I mean," he concluded.

This isn't the first time Long has put the tactic to use.

When Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey testified before the House Energy and Commerce committee in 2018, far-right activist Lara Loomer stood up to protest the "censoring and shadow-banning of conservatives."

Long then began a mock auction and was met with a mixture of laughter and cheers, drowning out Loomer until she was removed by US Capitol Police.

"Somehow I think our auctioneer in residence is going to get tweeted about today," quipped Republican Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon, who chaired the committee at the time.

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The Trump-endorsed challenger to Rep. Liz Cheney once called the former president ‘racist and xenophobic’ and worked to stop his nomination

Trump-endorsed Republican candidate Harriet Hageman (left) and Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming (right)
Trump-endorsed Republican candidate Harriet Hageman (left) and Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming (right)
  • Former President Trump endorsed Hageman because Cheney is insufficiently loyal to him.
  • In 2016, Hageman said Trump was "racist and xenophobic" and plotted to deny him the GOP nomination.
  • Hageman says she blames "the lies the Democrats and Liz Cheney's friends in the media were telling."
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Harriet Hageman, a former RNC official from Wyoming endorsed by former President Donald Trump to run against Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, was once part of an effort to deny Trump the nomination at the 2016 Republican convention.

The New York Times reported on Monday that Hageman believed Trump was a weak candidate who had become the nominee only through the support of Democrats voting in Republican primaries. She also said the former President was "somebody who is racist and xenophobic."

Hageman, now running with Trump's endorsement in a bid to unseat Cheney, was also once close to the congresswoman herself, serving as an advisor for Cheney's aborted 2014 Senate bid.

The Times reported that Hageman participated in an effort to "unbind" delegates at the 2016 convention via a "conscience provision," freeing them to vote for Ted Cruz rather than Trump, the eventual nominee.

"Vote your conscience," Cruz famously declared in his speech at the 2016 convention, receiving a mixture of cheers and booing.

But in a statement to the Times, Hageman ultimately blamed Cheney for her previous actions.

"I heard and believed the lies the Democrats and Liz Cheney's friends in the media were telling at the time, but that is ancient history as I quickly realized that their allegations against President Trump were untrue," she told the New York Times. "He was the greatest president of my lifetime, and I am proud to have been able to renominate him in 2020. And I'm proud to strongly support him today."

But Cheney backed Trump in 2016, doubling down on her support for him even after the emergence of the "Access Hollywood" tape in which Trump bragged about sexually assaulting women.

"Trump's comments were appalling. Hillary's actions have been far worse," she told Wyoming-based K2 radio that year. "I will be voting for Donald Trump. A vote for anyone other than Trump is a vote for Hillary."

But since then, Cheney has become among the most prominent anti-Trump Republicans in the country. After she voted to impeach the president for inciting an insurrection following the January 6 assault on the US Capitol, she has continued to speak out publicly about her belief that Trump poses a threat to democracy.

House Republicans eventually booted her from leadership over it, and Trump himself is now backing Hageman in a bid to remove Cheney from Congress altogether.

"It's going to be the most important House race in the country in 2022," Cheney said in a "60 Minutes" interview on Sunday.

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The FEC unanimously rejected a Trump campaign complaint against Snapchat after the social media site removed the former president’s content from its “Discover” feed

A woman uses an iPhone to take a SnapChat as former President Donald Trump speaks via video with NASA astronauts from the Oval Office of the White House on April 24, 2017.
A woman uses an iPhone to take a SnapChat as former President Donald Trump speaks via video with NASA astronauts from the Oval Office of the White House on April 24, 2017.
  • The FEC unanimously rejected a Trump campaign complaint against Snapchat.
  • Snapchat removed Trump's content from the curated "Discover" page in June 2020 for inciting "racial violence."
  • The Trump campaign alleged that Snapchat made an illegal contribution to Joe Biden by doing so.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

The Federal Election Commission has dismissed a complaint made by former President Donald Trump's campaign against Snapchat, which it said had violated election laws by removing the campaign's content from its curated "Discover" page.

Snapchat announced in June 2020 that it would no longer promote Trump's content on the page, though it did not remove Trump's account from the platform, leading to a complaint from the campaign 4 months later.

"We are not currently promoting the president's content on Snapchat's discover platform," a Snap spokesperson told Insider at the time. "We will not amplify voices who incite racial violence and injustice by giving them free promotion on Discover.

"Snapchat is trying to rig the 2020 election, illegally using their corporate funding to promote Joe Biden and suppress President Trump," Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale said at the time. "Radical Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel would rather promote extreme left riot videos and encourage their users to destroy America than share the positive words of unity, justice, and law and order from our President."

Ultimately, all 6 commissioners voted to find that Snapchat had not violated federal election laws.

In the initial complaint, filed in late September of 2020, the campaign's general counsel argued that Snapchat was "illegally placing its corporate thumb on the scale of the 2020 presidential Election" and had "made upwards of $12.5 million worth of potentially prohibited in-kind corporate contributions" to Trump's opponents by continuing to promote the Biden campaign's content on the Discover page.

"Snap pretextually claims President Trump and the Trump Campaign violated Snapchat's community guidelines merely by commenting on ongoing violent and destructive street riots," the Trump campaign's complaint reads. "In reality, Snapchat's CEO disagreed with President Trump and his Campaign's messaging on these important social issues and sought to silence the President and his Campaign's voice based on his own partisan ideology."

And just like Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida argued about social media giant Twitter in two separate complaints to the commission in the last few years - including a 2018 complaint over an alleged "shadow ban" and a 2020 complaint about fact-checking labels on Trump's tweets - Trump's campaign argued that Snapchat was a "debate platform" subject to FEC regulation.

The social media company, which is primarily centered around sending disappearing photo messages, responded to the complaint in November 2020.

A representative of the company argued that the platform was not being partisan because "a major conservative organization used Snapchat to advocate for repeal of Obamacare" and "The National Republican Senatorial Committee and the Republican Governors Association have used Snapchat to attack political opponents."

The company also pointed to its community guidelines and use of editorial standards, as well as its self-conception as a "friendlier, less incendiary place than Facebook, Twitter or Instagram." They also said that Snapchat's young users "are not interested in hearing divisive rhetoric" and that the company had seen advertising a windfall in advertising revenues of its "values-driven approach."

Ultimately, the commissioners agreed with Snapchat's reasoning. An April 2021 legal analysis by the commission's legal staff found that the company had legitimate commercial reasons to remove Trump's content from the curated feed. "[Snapchat's] response appears to have been comparable, and in some cases less severe, than the responses of its social media competitors," read the analysis. It also rebuked the notion that Snapchat had made an in-kind contribution to the Biden campaign by maintain its content on the "Discover" page.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The FEC unanimously rejected a Trump campaign complaint against Snapchat after the social media site removed the former president’s content from its “Discover” feed

A woman uses an iPhone to take a SnapChat as former President Donald Trump speaks via video with NASA astronauts from the Oval Office of the White House on April 24, 2017.
A woman uses an iPhone to take a SnapChat as former President Donald Trump speaks via video with NASA astronauts from the Oval Office of the White House on April 24, 2017.
  • The FEC unanimously rejected a Trump campaign complaint against Snapchat.
  • Snapchat removed Trump's content from the curated "Discover" page in June 2020 for inciting "racial violence."
  • The Trump campaign alleged that Snapchat made an illegal contribution to Joe Biden by doing so.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

The Federal Election Commission has dismissed a complaint made by former President Donald Trump's campaign against Snapchat, which it said had violated election laws by removing the campaign's content from its curated "Discover" page.

Snapchat announced in June 2020 that it would no longer promote Trump's content on the page, though it did not remove Trump's account from the platform, leading to a complaint from the campaign 4 months later.

"We are not currently promoting the president's content on Snapchat's discover platform," a Snap spokesperson told Insider at the time. "We will not amplify voices who incite racial violence and injustice by giving them free promotion on Discover.

"Snapchat is trying to rig the 2020 election, illegally using their corporate funding to promote Joe Biden and suppress President Trump," Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale said at the time. "Radical Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel would rather promote extreme left riot videos and encourage their users to destroy America than share the positive words of unity, justice, and law and order from our President."

Ultimately, all 6 commissioners voted to find that Snapchat had not violated federal election laws.

In the initial complaint, filed in late September of 2020, the campaign's general counsel argued that Snapchat was "illegally placing its corporate thumb on the scale of the 2020 presidential Election" and had "made upwards of $12.5 million worth of potentially prohibited in-kind corporate contributions" to Trump's opponents by continuing to promote the Biden campaign's content on the Discover page.

"Snap pretextually claims President Trump and the Trump Campaign violated Snapchat's community guidelines merely by commenting on ongoing violent and destructive street riots," the Trump campaign's complaint reads. "In reality, Snapchat's CEO disagreed with President Trump and his Campaign's messaging on these important social issues and sought to silence the President and his Campaign's voice based on his own partisan ideology."

And just like Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida argued about social media giant Twitter in two separate complaints to the commission in the last few years - including a 2018 complaint over an alleged "shadow ban" and a 2020 complaint about fact-checking labels on Trump's tweets - Trump's campaign argued that Snapchat was a "debate platform" subject to FEC regulation.

The social media company, which is primarily centered around sending disappearing photo messages, responded to the complaint in November 2020.

A representative of the company argued that the platform was not being partisan because "a major conservative organization used Snapchat to advocate for repeal of Obamacare" and "The National Republican Senatorial Committee and the Republican Governors Association have used Snapchat to attack political opponents."

The company also pointed to its community guidelines and use of editorial standards, as well as its self-conception as a "friendlier, less incendiary place than Facebook, Twitter or Instagram." They also said that Snapchat's young users "are not interested in hearing divisive rhetoric" and that the company had seen advertising a windfall in advertising revenues of its "values-driven approach."

Ultimately, the commissioners agreed with Snapchat's reasoning. An April 2021 legal analysis by the commission's legal staff found that the company had legitimate commercial reasons to remove Trump's content from the curated feed. "[Snapchat's] response appears to have been comparable, and in some cases less severe, than the responses of its social media competitors," read the analysis. It also rebuked the notion that Snapchat had made an in-kind contribution to the Biden campaign by maintain its content on the "Discover" page.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The FEC unanimously rejected a Trump campaign complaint against Snapchat after the social media site removed the former president’s content from its “Discover” feed

A woman uses an iPhone to take a SnapChat as former President Donald Trump speaks via video with NASA astronauts from the Oval Office of the White House on April 24, 2017.
A woman uses an iPhone to take a SnapChat as former President Donald Trump speaks via video with NASA astronauts from the Oval Office of the White House on April 24, 2017.
  • The FEC unanimously rejected a Trump campaign complaint against Snapchat.
  • Snapchat removed Trump's content from the curated "Discover" page in June 2020 for inciting "racial violence."
  • The Trump campaign alleged that Snapchat made an illegal contribution to Joe Biden by doing so.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

The Federal Election Commission has dismissed a complaint made by former President Donald Trump's campaign against Snapchat, which it said had violated election laws by removing the campaign's content from its curated "Discover" page.

Snapchat announced in June 2020 that it would no longer promote Trump's content on the page, though it did not remove Trump's account from the platform, leading to a complaint from the campaign 4 months later.

"We are not currently promoting the president's content on Snapchat's discover platform," a Snap spokesperson told Insider at the time. "We will not amplify voices who incite racial violence and injustice by giving them free promotion on Discover.

"Snapchat is trying to rig the 2020 election, illegally using their corporate funding to promote Joe Biden and suppress President Trump," Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale said at the time. "Radical Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel would rather promote extreme left riot videos and encourage their users to destroy America than share the positive words of unity, justice, and law and order from our President."

Ultimately, all 6 commissioners voted to find that Snapchat had not violated federal election laws.

In the initial complaint, filed in late September of 2020, the campaign's general counsel argued that Snapchat was "illegally placing its corporate thumb on the scale of the 2020 presidential Election" and had "made upwards of $12.5 million worth of potentially prohibited in-kind corporate contributions" to Trump's opponents by continuing to promote the Biden campaign's content on the Discover page.

"Snap pretextually claims President Trump and the Trump Campaign violated Snapchat's community guidelines merely by commenting on ongoing violent and destructive street riots," the Trump campaign's complaint reads. "In reality, Snapchat's CEO disagreed with President Trump and his Campaign's messaging on these important social issues and sought to silence the President and his Campaign's voice based on his own partisan ideology."

And just like Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida argued about social media giant Twitter in two separate complaints to the commission in the last few years - including a 2018 complaint over an alleged "shadow ban" and a 2020 complaint about fact-checking labels on Trump's tweets - Trump's campaign argued that Snapchat was a "debate platform" subject to FEC regulation.

The social media company, which is primarily centered around sending disappearing photo messages, responded to the complaint in November 2020.

A representative of the company argued that the platform was not being partisan because "a major conservative organization used Snapchat to advocate for repeal of Obamacare" and "The National Republican Senatorial Committee and the Republican Governors Association have used Snapchat to attack political opponents."

The company also pointed to its community guidelines and use of editorial standards, as well as its self-conception as a "friendlier, less incendiary place than Facebook, Twitter or Instagram." They also said that Snapchat's young users "are not interested in hearing divisive rhetoric" and that the company had seen advertising a windfall in advertising revenues of its "values-driven approach."

Ultimately, the commissioners agreed with Snapchat's reasoning. An April 2021 legal analysis by the commission's legal staff found that the company had legitimate commercial reasons to remove Trump's content from the curated feed. "[Snapchat's] response appears to have been comparable, and in some cases less severe, than the responses of its social media competitors," read the analysis. It also rebuked the notion that Snapchat had made an in-kind contribution to the Biden campaign by maintain its content on the "Discover" page.

Read the original article on Business Insider