Paul Nehlen, the anti-Semitic white nationalist candidate hoping to be elected to fill the seat in Congress currently held by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, has filed a Federal Election Commission complaint against Twitter for suspending his original Twitter account (he’s since returned to the site using a new account from which he posts freely) on the grounds that doing so was a political contribution to his opponents.
In a release posted on Nehlen’s website and emailed sent to Nehlen’s mailing list, Nehlen writes:
“[W]e assert that Twitter banned me from the platform for the purpose of influencing the 2018 mid-term election by making in-kind contributions to my political opponents: Democratic candidates vying for Paul Ryan’s seat as the U.S. Representative from Wisconsin’s First Congressional District.”
The 22-page filing included in Nehlen’s press release bears the watermark of Randazza Legal Group, which is the legal team headed up by First Amendment attorney Marc Randazza. Randazza also represents neo-Nazi blogger Andrew Anglin, alt-right activist Chuck Johnson (who Rep. Matt Gaetz invited to the State of the Union address), and the alt-right cesspool forum board 8chan. The filing claims that “Twitter banned [Nehlen] for the purpose of influencing the 2018 mid-term election by making an in-kind contribution to [Nehlen’s] political opponents.”
The complaint cites videos produced by right-wing smear merchant James O’Keefe’s group Project Veritas, which has a reputation for secretly recording and deceptively editing footage of its political opponents (for example, in 2010, O’Keefe tried to lure a CNN correspondent onto a boat filled with sex toys). Earlier this year, O’Keefe released footage of Twitter employees explaining the processes it uses to moderate content on its site, and spun it to baselessly claim that Twitter was knowingly discriminating against conservatives on the site.
The filing gives a play-by-play of the anti-Semitic and racist content that led to Nehlen’s permanent suspension and speculates that, prior to banning his account outright, Twitter may have “shadowbanned” Nehlen and his campaign spokesperson at the time, Josh Smith. It also asserts that Twitter “likely banned Nehlen’s Twitter account for the purpose of influencing the 2018 mid-term elections.”
The release also nods to brutally defeated neo-Nazi candidate Patrick Little, who has spiraled even deeper into his extremist rhetoric (and is apparently sleeping in his supporters’ yards) while he travels the state spreading his vitriolic ideology.
The release concludes with the words, “Let’s Make Freedom Of Speech Great Again.”
Nehlen’s announcement comes at a time where conservative outrage is reaching a fever pitch about supposed censorship of conservative ideologies on social media sites, inspiring numerous congressional hearings despite the fact that no one has been able to produce tangible evidence that it is actually happening as they claim it is. Fringe right-wing voices have attributed the supposed censorship to a variety of causes, including blaming immigrants employed by social media companies. Others claim the sites support pedophilia, an unfounded accusation with which right-wing figures have been smearing liberals, progressives and Democrats.