Neal Dikeman, the Libertarian candidate in the U.S. Senate race, filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Committee on Monday Oct 15 against CNN and Rep Beto O’Rourke for an alleged $10 million campaign finance violation over CNN’s upcoming town hall.
Dikeman will be one of three U.S. senate candidates on the ballot in November. He won the Libertarian nomination with over 70 percent of the votes against five opponents.
Dikeman wrote an open letter to CNN on Oct. 11, requesting to participate in the event. He claimed it was important for him to participate because he would increase viewership, bring a new perspective and influence the outcome of what looks like a close election.
“My inclusion in the October 18 program enables CNN to meet the requirement that a staged candidate debate must include at least two candidates,” said Dikeman. He also suggested giving O’Rourke an hour on television, unopposed, could be considered a sort of campaign donation. CNN did not reply to his request.
Dikeman then filed an Federal Elections Committee complaint, and has since publicly released the full text along with an open letter to CNN.
“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,” Dikeman wrote in his open letter.
The Campaign Legal Center’s senior legal counsel of campaign finance, Erin Chlopak, told the Dallas Morning News, “This doesn’t strike me as something that would make it past the first stage.”
Chlopak said that due to the lack of FEC members, it would take a unanimous vote from the FEC for the complaint to go through.