The Federal Election Commission has dismissed a complaint from Republicans that Google’s Gmail app aided Democratic candidates by sending GOP fundraising emails to spam at a far higher rate than Democratic solicitations.
The Republican National Committee and others contended that the alleged benefit amounted to unreported campaign contributions to Democrats. But in a letter to Google last week, the FEC said it “found no reason to believe” that Google made prohibited in-kind corporate contributions, and that any skewed results from its spam filter algorithms were inadvertent.
“Google has credibly supported its claim that its spam filter is in place for commercial reasons and thus did not constitute a contribution” within the meaning of federal campaign laws, according to an FEC analysis reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
The RNC and other campaign committees argued that Google’s “overwhelmingly disproportionate suppression of Republican emails” constituted an illegal corporate contribution to Democratic candidates.
But the FEC disagreed, finding that Google established that it maintains its spam filter settings to aid its business in keeping out malware, phishing attacks and scams, and not for the purpose of benefiting any political candidates.