Thursday, October 08, 2020

GOA and John Crump File Complaint with Federal Election Commission Against Facebook, AFP, and Harris Campaign


GOA symbol from wikimedia/ fair use, FEC symbol in public domain.


John Crump and Gun Owners of America have filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) alleging violations of provisions of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971.

John Crump is a frequent contributor to AmmoLand.

The complaint alleges Facebook, and/or Agence France-Presse (AFP), and Kamala Harris for Vice President have violated the act in the following ways. From the complaint: 

1. the prohibition on corporations making in-kind contributions (see 52 U.S.C. §§ 30101(8), 30118);

2. the limitations on making coordinated expenditures (52 U.S.C. § 30116(a)(7));

3. the prohibition on making Independent Expenditures without disclaimers and reporting (52 U.S.C. §§ 30104(g) and 30120(a)); and

4. the prohibition on foreign nationals making in-kind contributions for the purpose of influencing a federal election (52 U.S.C. § 30121).

The hostility of Facebook against gun ownership and the right to arms has become a notorious subjective experience for many Second Amendment supporters.

The allegations in the FEC complaint are stark and easily followed. Facebook supports AFP as its official "fact-checker", which gives the French government supported agency significant power in deciding what is acceptable on Facebook. 

The "fact-checker" is supposed to be unbiased in what it labels as false or true. 

The complaint shows how an article written by Cam Edwards about Candidate Harris' position in a 2008 amicus brief was taken down by Facebook. An AFP paper was put in its place. Facebook searches for the Edwards article were directed to the AFP paper.   

The FEC complaint details how Facebook deleted the account of AmmoLand contributor John Crump when he attempted to link to the Cam Edwards article, and how Facebook took down other articles about Candidate Kamala Harris's position on a private right to arms. 

One was by Texas Director for GOA, Rachel Malone.  The article is entitled "Kamala Harris is the Gun Owner's Worst Nightmare".

The AFP paper does not show official statements from the Harris campaign which deny or reject the positions in the 2008 amicus brief. 

Instead, AFP interprets the statements as though banning some guns and some gun ownership is not an attack on the right to own guns, but only "gun safety" measures.

The AFP paper takes the same political position as the Harris position, which is, essentially, the Second Amendment is, or should be, a paper tiger. They cite Harris statement in 2018: 

At a Judiciary Committee hearing in March 2018, Harris called for “common sense gun safety laws” and said “it’s a false choice to suggest that you are either in favor of the Second Amendment or you want to take everyone’s guns away.”

Thus, AFP comes down on Harris' side of a contentious Constitutional issue, which has legal scholars on both sides. AFP only cited experts who hold that Second Amendment rights are extremely limited.  AFP did not cite those who hold Second Amendment rights to be broad, such as Eugene Volokh from UCLA, or David Kopel of the Cato Institute.

This illustrates part of the problem with "fact checkers" on political questions. 

Either side can find "experts" to agree with it. 

When a public forum takes down assertions from one side, and only allows publication from the opposite side of an issue, the publication has taken sides.

The controversy goes deeper than the opinion of experts on the legal issue. It becomes one of world view or philosophy.   

The articles about Harris' statements on more regulation of firearms in the United States cite her positions, and what the writers believe those positions mean for how Kamala Harris will act if she is elected. They are clear and reasonable interpretations.

The AFP paper does not refute the claims of Cam Edwards, Rachel Malone, or John Crump. Instead, they interpret Harris' statements and positions from the same philosophical base as the Harris campaign.  Facebook's claims and actions are not transparent or easily followed.

The AFP paper never claims Harris approves of a right to own guns, which is what is required to refute the claims of Edwards and Malone. 

Instead, it says Harris does not oppose all gun ownership. The two positions are far apart.  AFP never mentions the difference.

Facebook and AFP claim they do not take sides.

GOA, John Crump, and the complaint says they do, and are doing so in violation of federal election law.

It is a David v. Goliath effort. Facebook is one of the wealthiest and most powerful companies on earth.

With only a few weeks before election day, and early voting already in effect in some states,  Facebook and AFP are exerting their influence on the American presidential election. 

©2020 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch












No comments: