Republicans file FEC complaint over alleged Google censorship of fundraising emails

FILE- A Google sign is shown on the company’s campus in Mountain View, Calif., on Sept. 24, 2019. Google’s corporate parent Alphabet on Tuesday, April 26, 2022, posted its slowest quarterly revenue growth since 2020, the latest sign that the huge gains enjoyed by technology companies during the pandemic are fading into the rear-view mirror. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

Republicans are filing a complaint alleging that Google’s email platform unfairly censored GOP fundraising emails by filtering messages to users’ spam folders at a far higher rate than it did Democratic fundraising pleas.

The complaint, dated April 26, was filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) as part of a joint effort by the Republican National Committee (RNC), National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) and National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC).

The complaint cites a study from researchers at North Carolina State University that found that, throughout the 2020 election cycle, Gmail allowed the vast majority of emails from Democrats into users’ inboxes, while more than two-thirds of emails from Republicans were filtered into spam folders.

The complaint argues that, in doing so, Google effectively “made illegal, corporate in-kind contributions to the Biden campaign and Democrat candidates across the country by its overwhelmingly – and indefensibly – disproportionate suppression of Republican candidate emails.”

“The Commission further should conduct an investigation into Google’s activities to determine the value of its in-kind contributions and the full extent to which Google has violated, and presumably continues to violate, federal campaign finance law through its partisan email suppression,” the complaint says.

In a statement, the RNC estimated that conservative candidates missed out on $2 billion in contributions since 2019 because their emails were routed to spam folders.

Google did not immediately respond to The Hill’s request for comment on the FEC complaint, though the company has previously rejected the findings of the North Carolina State University study.

The complaint is the latest action in the GOP’s ongoing effort to claim that tech giants, like Google and Facebook, have worked to censor and suppress conservative voices online.

In a move that was lauded by many Republicans this week, billionaire Elon Musk struck a deal to buy Twitter for about $44 billion. Musk has said that he wants to take the social media platform private and promote “free speech” on the site.

In a joint statement, RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel, NRSC Chair Rick Scott (R-Fla.) and NRCC Chair Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), called on the FEC “to investigate the extent and intentionality of Google’s censorship of Republican fundraising efforts.”

“This is a financially devastating example of Silicon Valley tech companies unfairly shaping the political playing field to benefit their preferred far-left candidates,” they said. “Companies like Google don’t think you have the right to hear both sides: they’d rather make the decision for you.”

Tags Censorship FEC Google

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