- The Washington Times - Friday, August 21, 2020

The U.S. Federal Election Commission was asked Thursday to investigate if Facebook and Twitter can legally ban Republican congressional nominee Laura Loomer from their services.

Joe Schweppe of the American Principles Project conservative think tank wrote the FEC in light of Ms. Loomer remaining banned from both platforms after winning the GOP nod Tuesday.

“Under normal circumstances, it would arguably be well within those companies’ rights to take this action. But given that Loomer is now a major party nominee for U.S. Congress, a reassessment may be warranted,” wrote Mr. Schweppe, American Principles Project’s director of policy and government affairs.

Ms. Loomer, the Republican candidate to represent Florida’s 21st Congressional District, was permanently suspended from Twitter and Facebook in 2018 and 2019, respectively.

Twitter banned Ms. Loomer, 27, for repeatedly violating the platform’s policies — a decision that came after she posted that Islam is a “cancer,” among other anti-Muslim tweets.

Facebook later followed suit by punting Ms. Loomer from its social network and sister-service Instagram after finding her in violation of its rules against “dangerous” individuals.

Mr. Schweppe noted in his letter that a number of other companies have banned Ms. Loomer as well — Uber, Lyft and PayPal, to name a few — and asked if any were in the right.

“Can these tech companies legally grant a material benefit to one political candidate, but not another? Can they deny one political candidate access to their services and platforms, while granting full access to another? Does this not amount to an in-kind contribution to the favored candidate?” he asked.

A spokesperson for FEC declined to comment on the concerns, according to Politico where the letter was first reported.

“Anyone may file a complaint with the Commission if she or he believes that a violation of federal campaign finance law has occurred. A federal statutory provision requires confidentiality on enforcement cases, and as a result, we are careful not to comment on any potential matters that may come before the agency,” said FEC spokesperson Christian Hilland, Politico reported.

Twitter and Facebook each told The Washington Times on Thursday that Ms. Loomer remains permanently suspended under their respective policies.

Ms. Loomer is set to run in November’s general election against incumbent Rep. Lois Frankel, Florida Democrat.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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