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    CNN Response to Libertarian FEC Complaint Does Not Refute Basis of the Alleged Violation; Libertarian Dikeman Expects the largest ever FEC Complaint Against CNN and Beto for Texas to Go Nowhere

    CNN Response to Libertarian FEC Complaint Does Not Refute Basis of the Alleged Violation; Libertarian Dikeman Expects the largest ever FEC Complaint Against CNN and Beto for Texas to Go Nowhere

    CNN’s SVP of Legal provided a response to our letter asking them to remedy the CNN/O’Rourke McAllen event that is the subject of our FEC complaint.  In our complaint, we allege and recite facts and provide evidence that i) CNN has in this unique situation deviated in a step-out from its normal practice of coverage, and ii) without a second candidate in the debate, cannot qualify as a staged multi-candidate event, leaving its event as a prohibited corporate campaign contribution under FECA.  CNN’s letter does not refute either of these two facts, instead citing an unrelated 2009 FEC case with different facts and appears to misquote the facts of that case in their response.  Beto for Texas has not responded.

    More recently than 2009, Libertarian National Committee has successfully pursued this same strategy in several prior instances, wherein debate hosts reversed themselves and invited the Libertarian candidate to participate, and that in those cases where the host goes ahead and has the debate, despite being notified that it violates the law, the LNC has pursued legal action. We believe the facts in this particular instance are unique, unprecedented and compelling. 

    To date no CNN journalist has seen fit to return our tweets, calls or emails on any topic.  CNN has not covered, and the attached from their SVP - Legal is the sole contact or mention, CNN has ever had with our campaign, despite coverage from the other major networks.

    Why Libertarian Dikeman Expects Material Campaign Finance Complaint Against CNN and Beto for Texas to Go Nowhere

    And why we filed it anyway.  And why you should care.

    At this time there are currently four Commissioners seated at the Federal Election Commission when there should be six. There are two Republicans, one Democrat, one Independent and two vacant seats. These existing vacancies are part and parcel of the recurring and troubling pattern of partisan failure of the Executive Branch and US Senate to make and confirm appointments.

    "Commissioners are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate.  By law, no more than three Commissioners can represent the same political party, and at least four votes are required for any official Commission action. This structure was created to encourage nonpartisan decisions." - FEC.gov

    Enforcement action based our complaint, given the current number of Commissioners, would at this time require a unanimous vote of the Commission.  "Erin Chlopak, senior legal counsel of campaign finance for the Campaign Legal Center, said the lack of members on the FEC makes it hard to see how this complaint can go through. The FEC is normally made up of six commissioners, with no more than three from either political party. However, the commission only has four members, with two seats open. "You would need a unanimous vote right now," Chlopak said. "This doesn't strike me as something that would make it past the first stage." - Dallas Morning News

    We were made aware of this likely outcome by Oliver Hall, Special Counsel for the Libertarian National Committee, who has advised us.  We were also made aware that the only recourse if we chose to, is appeal in the Federal District Court in Washington, DC, and that must wait until the FEC makes a determination, which given the normal timeline we understand the FEC is likely to make well after the election. 

    Do we believe our complaint has merit?  Of course we do.  Do we believe the act of raising a compliant is somehow un-Libertarian, effectively asking the Federal government to enforce what some view as a free speech issue?  Whether this question creates a Libertarian paradox or not, the rules are for everyone and no one should be above the law. Do we believe that organizations like CNN should play by the same rules that Dallas Morning News, KSEN5 and others do?  No question. When Republican Ted Cruz pulled out of the second planned debate with Democrat Beto O’Rourke in Houston, the hosts chose to cancel the debate.  Inviting Libertarian Neal Dikeman instead of Republican Ted Cruz would have been an alternative solution but that wasn’t the decision made. While disappointed that Dikeman was not invited, we raised no complaint because there appeared to be no egregious flaunting of existing law.  Are we concerned that the decision-making capability of the Federal Election Commission may be currently hamstrung through no fault of their own?  FEC enforcement action based on our complaint would right now potentially impact a marquee Democratic candidate right before an election, with each Commissioner having an effective veto because of the vacancies. 

    Below is a summary of the current situation.

    Neal Dikeman for Senate raised a complaint to the FEC that a CNN-sponsored debate / town hall planned in McAllen, TX on October 18 would be a prohibited campaign contribution by a corporation.  The critical issues in our complaint are i) corporations cannot make political contributions under FECA, and news organizations ii) can host debates but such debates are required to include at least two candidates and meet other tests, or iii) the news coverage “is part of a general pattern of campaign-related news account that give reasonably equal coverage to all opposing candidates in the circulation or listening area”.

    Given CNN’s McAllen event is now for a single Senate candidate it no longer qualifies as a staged multi-candidate debate, and the highly unique level of coverage and format of this promoted, hour-long prime time national town hall, significantly deviates in a step-out from its normal patterns of coverage, and features a single candidate.

    CNN has not directly contested our concern that this a step-out from normal practice, the core of our complaint, and has tacitly admitted it cannot qualify as a debate, and instead tries to assert that we are not relevant to be included.  Unfortunately for CNN, our lack of inclusion was not the basis of our complaint, as it appeared to be in the case they cite, the step-out is.  Our inclusion is simply one of several possible remedies we suggested they consider.

    Reference

    FEC complaint against Beto for Texas and CNN

    Letter to CNN from Neal Dikeman for Senate

    CNN SVP – Legal Response Letter

    As we stated when we filed the complaint, Money should not drive politics.  Corporations should not fund politicians.  In an age where every candidate and party complains of media bias, and trust in our news institutions continues to erode, where does the news stop and politics begin?

    Neal Dikeman

     

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  • Libertarian Dikeman Files Largest Ever FEC Campaign Finance Violation Complaint against CNN and Beto for Texas

    UPDATE:  CNN Response to Libertarian FEC Complaint Does Not Refute Basis of the Alleged Violation; Libertarian Dikeman Expects the largest ever FEC Complaint Against CNN and Beto for Texas to Go Nowhere

    Today we filed an eleven page campaign violation complaint with the Federal Election Commission against CNN and Beto for Texas.  It needed to happen, and my campaign is about standing up for what is right. 

     

     

    Libertarian Dikeman Files Largest Ever FEC Campaign Finance Violation Complaint against CNN and Beto for Texas

    Press Release, Houston TX, Oct 15, 2018

    Today Neal Dikeman for Senate, the principal campaign committee of the Libertarian Nominee for US Senate for Texas, Neal Dikeman, filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission ("FEC") against CNN, a division of Turner Broadcasting, and Beto for Texas, the principal campaign committee of the Democratic Nominee for US Senate in Texas, Congressman Robert "Beto" O'Rourke.  The complaint describes a violation of FECA, that, given Senator Ted Cruz declined to participate in CNN's proposed October 18 townhall with Beto O'Rourke, the townhall debate can no longer qualify as a debate, which requires multiple candidates, and the planned format of an hour long prime time CNN promoted, hosted and moderated townhall with a single Senate candidate instead constitutes a prohibited political contribution to Beto for Texas.  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. 

    In the complaint, the minimum estimate provided for the fair market value of CNN’s promotion, production and broadcast of the Oct. 18 town hall is $10 million, which if enforced at this level, would make it the largest single campaign finance penalty in history.  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.

    "Politics should not be about money, and corporations should not be funding politicians," says Dikeman, “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 guys 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."

    Libertarian candidate Neal Dikeman is one of 3 nominees on the ballot for US Senator in Texas in 2018.

    The Dikeman Campaign's official campaign website is www.nealdikeman.com, on Twitter @nealdikeman, and  Facebook at NealDikemanforSenate.  For Press and speaking inquiries contact info@dikeman.net or c.meckel@lonestarcampaigns.org

     

    Money in Politics

    The real reason money is able to influence politics is because barely 3-5% of all races nationwide are competitive, and in Texas 1 in 3 does not even have both Democratic and Republican running. 

    We've seen news reports talking about how the GOP has had to pull back from defending a handful of US House races because it didn't have enough funding to defend all the ones it targeted, and how the O'Rourke campaign has sucked cash away from other Democratic campaigns, threatening the viability of the "blue wave".  What this really means is there is literally not enough cash in politics to "buy" all the races.  It only looks like it because we the voters have let gerrymandering, apathy, and straight party voting, create so many safe and unopposed seats that the cash that wants to influence the elections can concentrate on a handful of races each year and change outcomes at the margin.

    Were voters to force every race to be competitive in Texas, let alone nationwide, we'd literally bankrupt the political cash machine on both sides.  Let's do it.

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  • Open Letter to CNN on Town Hall Debate

    October 11, 2018

    ATTN: Ms. Dana Bash, CNN Chief Political Correspondent

    Copy Sent by Certified Mail

    Dana,

    I formally request inclusion in the CNN sponsored US Senate debate / town hall on October 18, 2018 in McAllen.  I unfortunately learned about this program late from the press.  I am available to participate on that date and in that location. 

    I am one of three US Senate candidates on the ballot in Texas.  I won the Libertarian nomination in a five-way contested convention after receiving the votes of >70% of the delegates.  I suspect that my participation would increase viewership of the Oct 18th program because I bring a fresh perspective to the political discussion that I think your audience would appreciate.  For the first time in a major Texas race, multiple objective media outlets have reported that the Libertarian candidate can tip the scales on the outcome of an election – particularly in the event of a close O’Rourke win.

    Texas Monthly - "An unanswerable question is whether these disaffected Republicans will cross party lines to vote for O’Rourke, or will the choose a safe-harbor vote for Libertarian Neal Dikeman, or make a decision to either stay home or vote for Cruz despite their misgivings."

    Dallas Morning News - Could Libertarian Candidate Tip the Senate Race to Either Cruz or O'Rourke? 

    Capital Tonight with Karina Kling - If the race between Cruz and O'Rourke proves to be as tight as some polls suggest, Dikeman could be a spoiler.

    Texas Tribune - Analysis: Neal Dikeman’s voters could decide which Texan serves in the U.S. Senate

    I was not on the original invitation list for the October 18 debate in McAllen nor was I advised ahead of time of any objective criteria for inclusion.  Given that Ted Cruz has declined to participate, my inclusion in the October 18 program enables CNN to meet the requirement that a staged candidate debate must include at least two candidates.  An additional benefit would be to avoid the risk that the O’Rourke campaign accepts a prohibited political contribution from CNN.

    Given the tight timeline, and campaign logistics, I respectfully request a response within 24 hours of the receipt of this note.  I am available at your convenience to discuss details and look forward to hearing from you.

    Kind regards,

    Neal M. Dikeman
    Libertarian Nominee for US Senate

    Neal Dikeman for Senate
    www.nealdikeman.com
    twitter: @nealdikeman

    cc: Congressman Robert “Beto” O’Rourke; Beto for Texas

     

     

     

     

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  • On the Issues - Privacy Rights, 4th Amendment, and National Privacy Protection Act

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  • On the Issues - Why Your Healthcare is Tied your Job and How to Fix It

    Neal has proposed a Million Payer Plan - unwinding the decades old tax deal that tied your health insurance to your job and moving to a true market based system to drive affordability, broad coverage, and cost reductions in healthcare.

    Healthcare should be deflationary like other tech industries, not seeing price increases at twice the rate of the economy.

    It is morally bankrupt that your healthcare is tied to your job, let alone your government.  It's none of their business.

    If we don't fix health care costs, not just try and cap price and at the expense of service, we risk an expanded Medicare and Medicaid bankrupting our Federal system, or causing big tax increases down the road.

    We all want universal, affordable care, and we want insurance, and a way to pay for it.  But moving from the 4 payer tax subsidized system we have now to single payer may restrict price for a while, at the cost of service and quality.  But it's not an answer, and is not needed.  Over time if we don't address cost, we'll pay higher prices and get poorer service and quality.  And leaving our bad system in place is simply reactionary and a drag on the economy and our citizens.  


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