FEC Complaint Addendum v CNN and Beto for Texas Released

Libertarian Releases Amended FEC Complaint Responding to CNN Missteps; Questions If Contradictions in CNN Response Could Cost O’Rourke Most of Beto For Texas’ Reported Campaign Cash in FEC action

Neal Dikeman for Senate filed a complaint Addendum detailing additional evidence, and says the contradictions in CNN response to Neal Dikeman for Senate potentially exacerbate CNN's legal position and provide new evidence CNN may have violated a separate FECA provision, which if CNN is found in violation would similarly require in our view that Beto for Texas repay $10 mm to CNN, equivalent to almost all of Beto for Texas’ reported campaign cash.

The Addendum includes i) letters between the Cruz campaign and CNN that demonstrate that contrary to its response to us, CNN did in fact originally intend a multi-candidate debate and not a town-hall interview, and was working with the Beto for Texas campaign on the format design, ii) provides additional evidence detailing CNN's exclusion of both local residents on a partisan basis, and 4 local TV stations from coverage of the event on the day of, a further clear step-out from its pattern of general news coverage, the primary basis of our initial complaint iii) and provides evidence that CNN's own letter now indicates that it did not use pre-established objective criteria to determine the participants, an additional new clear violation under FECA that was not alleged in the first complaint.

“CNN’s legal department stated that it used as the objective basis for excluding our candidate from the debate consideration a CNN poll which CNN claimed showed Dikeman was “not polling well”.  In that poll CNN had not actually included our candidate’s name in the polling, and had specifically designed the polling question to imply only two candidates were in the race,” says the Dikeman campaign.

"Q1. If the election for U.S. Senate were held today and the candidates were Beto O'Rourke, the Democrat, and Ted Cruz, the Republican, who would you be more likely to vote for – " - CNN Poll Oct 16

“The requirement in the FECA to use pre-established objective criteria for debate inclusion is well-established, but as we had not included our exclusion as the basis for our initial complaint, we are unclear why CNN’s legal department would go out of its way to point it out instead of answering the actual complaint.  It seems as if they may not have actually read our complaint before responding, and ended up inadvertently providing direct evidence that they did not use objective criteria, indicating a clear cut additional FECA violation”.

Read the full Addendum including letters published between CNN and the Cruz campaign in the complaint.

"As the event in question has now passed, we see no alternative remedy but for the FEC to levy appropriate and commensurate fine against CNN for its violation, and for Beto for Texas to repay CNN for the fair market value of its in-kind $10 million prohibited corporate campaign contribution as is normal practice when prohibited contributions are received.  We recognize that this amount represents almost the entire reported cash on hand of Beto for Texas."

Money should not drive politics.  Corporations should not fund politicians.  All media sources need to play buy the same rules.


FEC Complaint Addendum

CNN Poll 

FEC Complaint Full Text

Demand Letter to CNN

CNN SVP – Legal Response Letter

Neal Dikeman for Senate to CNN Response

CNN and Beto for Texas FEC Complaint Moves to Next Stage

Press Release Houston, TX Oct 26, 2018

$10 mil FEC Campaign Finance Complaint against CNN and Beto for Texas Progresses to Next Stage

On October 25, Neal Dikeman for Senate received confirmation by mail from the FEC Assistant General Counsel Jeff Jordan that the Neal Dikeman for Senate FEC complaint against Beto for Texas had been assigned Matter Under Review number #7515.

According to the FEC, the issuance of a MUR# (Matter Under Review) indicates that the complaint submitted states a violation within the FEC’s jurisdiction and satisfies the criteria for a proper complaint. The issuance of an MUR# does not indicate a finding.

Now that a MUR# has been issued, CNN and Beto for Texas will have 15 days to demonstrate to the FEC in writing why no action should be taken against them in response to the complaint, a date that falls in this instance on Election Day. Following receipt of responses, the FEC will conduct its internal evaluation of the matter. Commission action on a MUR is kept strictly confidential until the case is resolved.  Parties can appeal an FEC decision to the Federal District Court in Washington, D.C.

Given the timeline associated with complaint evaluation process, we expect no further information from the FEC to be available prior to the election nor will there be information on the MUR available on the FEC's website at this time. Commission action on a MUR is kept strictly confidential until the case is resolved.

Says Libertarian candidate Neal Dikeman, "Given that the event in question has now passed, we see no alternative remedy but for the FEC to levy an appropriate and commensurate fine against CNN and Bet for Texas for their violations and for Beto for Texas to repay CNN for the fair market value of the $10 million prohibited in-kind corporate campaign contribution it received.”

Money should not drive politics. Corporations should not fund politicians. All media sources need to play by the same rules.


FEC Letter

FEC Complaint Full Text

Demand Letter to CNN

CNN SVP – Legal Response Letter

Neal Dikeman for Senate Press Release Regarding CNN Legal Response Letter



Open Letter to Debate Senator Cruz

Dear Senator Cruz,

I am the Libertarian Nominee you face on the ballot in November.  You and I largely agree on issues like local control, small government, fiscal responsibility, and the Second Amendment, which represent the majority views in Texas.  But that’s where a Libertarian vision of a positive world breaks with yours.

I started this race to make the world a better place for my preschool age girls as I was tired of our elected officials kicking the can down the road on issues from healthcare, immigration, and the debt.  Today I speak for voters who do not vote, and voters who do not feel heard.  I speak for those whose concerns about our future, are the same as mine about my children’s future.  And those tired of the finger pointing from politicians.   We are sending a message.

Consider this your formal invite to debate you alone.  I had previously offered to debate Beto as he has brought new, positive energy to Texas politics.  But after I filed a $10 million campaign finance violation complaint with the FEC against CNN and Beto for Texas, it seems unlikely that Congressman O’Rourke will be joining me on the debate stage any time soon.  That’s ok.  Money should not drive politics.

But Texans, especially the independent voters and moderate Texans who are voting to decide this race as we speak, deserve to hear a discussion of the nuances of real issues and solutions, not just left and right talking points.  They want a debate of substance.  I propose a debate like I did to O’Rourke at UT, A&M, or Sul Ross State.   However, since you seem prone to wrangling about details as a debate delay tactic, here’s the formal challenge Texas-style:

I will debate *you* anytime, anywhere, any format, any questions, given 36 hours notice. 

I don’t need six debates to wipe you out.  One will suffice.  I don’t need a timed debate, we can go for as long as you spoke the day you read Green Eggs & Ham on the Senate floor.  We don't need a major network covering it.  It’s 2018.  Youtube or Facebook live will do.  I am happy to include Congressman O’Rourke if you think you need air cover.

These are my proposed topics:

Fiscal responsibility – Here we have common ground, but under your watch, every year, every category of Federal spending has gone up.  And now that Republicans are in control of the executive branch and both houses of Congress we borrow 20% of every dollar spent, have record debts and record debt/GDP and our fastest-growing category of government spending is … Interest on the debt.    We used to borrow more during recessions and pay down debt during recoveries.  Now the economy is booming and so is the deficit.  Texans would like to know why you’ve been unable to improve this situation given your strong talk about your voting record, and how I would do it differently.   You have stated you believe we can grow our way out of our debt with the tax cuts.  But after the irresponsible combination of Republican led spending increases and tax cuts, your own Congressional Budget Office says that over the next 10 years, the Federal government will borrow $12 Trillion and the entire economy will only grow $10 Trillion.  I say one can’t grow one’s way out of debt when one is out borrowing the entire economy’s growth. 

Climate change – You told the Texas Tribune you convened a hearing in 2015 to study facts and now you don't think there is a real problem, and implied any solution would be cost prohibitive.  I founded a company in 2006 to reduce the cost of cutting carbon, one of 6 companies I founded leading us profitably into the next generation of energy.  I’ve written and spoken on the best ways to deal with climate change with the least economic impact.

Energy – Unlike you, I come from the private sector.  I started in oil & gas, have worked in finance and technology in both the largest and smallest companies in oil & gas, and also founded 6 startups in clean energy.  Energy is Texas’ cornerstone industry.  Texas needs a Senator who understands the details of the global energy industry, what it takes to keep both our fields and petrochemical plants competitive, has a vision for how Texas will lead the renewable energy future, and knows how to deliver environmental benefits to have the least impact on our economy. 

Reproductive Rights - Your position is a big government solution involving the Federal government in personal decisions in a woman’s body.  Mine is that abortion is a brutally hard personal decision between the individual, their conscience and God, and the Federal government has no business intervening in that or any other social issue.  Christ himself never enjoined nor used secular authority to enforce his Word, even to the cost of his life, and Christians should follow his example.  Texans deserve to hear that you don’t have to vote Democrat to have a pro-choice position and that pro-choice doesn’t mean anti-Christian.

Immigration – Congress has been kicking the can down the road on comprehensive immigration reform since before I could vote.  Our current policies hurt Texas' economy, especially the border towns.  You’ve called for a big expensive wall built on land taken by eminent domain from Texas' citizens in order to keep Trump and your primary voters happy.  I’ve said that an actual wall was a great 14th century idea in China, but it’s 2018 in America, and we need a modern approach that doesn’t spend tax dollars on a politically expedient bandaid, won’t hammer our Texas border country even more, and actually fixes the root causes of our immigration issues so they work for both Texans, and the Texas economy.  Washington should not tell Texas border towns they can’t trade with their neighbors, and chop block the Texas ag industry because of DC’s failure to work across the aisle.  Let’s discuss.

Healthcare Reform – This is a top issue for Texans.  The Democrats gave us their ACA program that failed to stop spiraling costs.  On your watch, when the Republicans had control of both the executive and legislative branch, they gave us … nothing.  Our current system which still has healthcare tied to your job and spiraling costs, is indefensible.  If you don’t believe me, ask your voters if they think healthcare should be tied to their job.  If you don’t believe me, ask yourself how a technology based industry like healthcare keeps seeing costs grow at 2x the rate of GDP, when all other tech-based industries are deflationary.  Or why “elective” health services like fertility treatments and Lasik, which are outside of our indefensible quasi-governmental funding model, have seen costs fall and outcomes improve.  And yes, we know single payer is a bad idea.  So what’s your actual solution?  Mine is our Million Payer Plan.  Let’s debate.

National Defense and Foreign Wars – Like Libertarians, most Texans are generally pro defense.  What they are not pro is bankrupting our government with defense spending, overseas bases in 85 countries with no plan, and massive spending and 17 years of foreign wars with absent Congressional oversight.  You’ve been singularly quiet on the issue of accountability for 17 years of failed overseas wars.  I am not.

Drug War – You said you lean libertarian on this issue in your first debate with Democrat Congressman O’Rourke.  Care to debate it with an actual Libertarian?


Senator Cruz, I’ll admit, you surprised me.  You have done the unthinkable, single-handedly turned Texas purple in a year where your candidate for Governor is polling 20 points ahead, and even though you are following John Cornyn’s 26-point 2014 beat down of the Democrat in the last Senate race.  No Republican has made a Democrat a contender in Texas since my freshman year at A&M.  This should not be a horse race.  Voters are supporting Congressman O’Rourke who would never normally support his policies, because he talks positively about the way world could be and outlines new policy prescriptions for important issues, while you don’t offer a positive vision.  And frankly moderates and independents don’t trust you or your one size fits all talking points.

You could politically afford to ignore O’Rourke’s call to debate for months, despite the best polling of any Democrat in decades in Texas.  But as I laid out last week, you ran to confirm a debate with him without me within hours after O’Rourke threatened to take up my challenge to debate together without you.  That’s why I am challenging you directly.  Your debates with Beto are done. Out debating a Democrat in Texas with good intentions and a positive vision, but ill thought out economic ideas, is one thing.  Beating me face to face, that’s quite another.

You run ads styling yourself as Tough as Texas.  Any Republican can beat a Democrat in Texas.  Let’s see how you handle a real fight with a real Libertarian.


Neal M. Dikeman

6th Generation Texan

3rd Generation Aggie

Father of 2 Young Girls

A Voice for the Voters

Libertarian Nominee for US Senate

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.


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


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.

Open Letter to CNN on Town Hall Debate

October 11, 2018

ATTN: Ms. Dana Bash, CNN Chief Political Correspondent

Copy Sent by Certified Mail


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
twitter: @nealdikeman

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





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

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.  

On the Issues with US Senate Libertarian Nominee Neal Dikeman from Texas

Neal Dikeman Interview on West Texas Wind

Webcast of Neal Dikeman's radio interview with host Mark Glover on AM 1610 Radio Show, West Texas Wind, out of Valentine, Texas.  We talk everything from budget deficits, Federal debt, to healthcare, to defense, and what we need to do to change politics for the better.  We also talk about the deep Libertarian voting history in the TransPecos and West Texas.