Libertarian candidate alleges CNN town hall in McAllen violates campaign law

McALLEN — The Libertarian candidate in the Texas U.S. Senate race filed what he called the largest-ever federal campaign complaint on Monday, alleging that Thursday’s CNN town hall in McAllen with Democratic candidate Beto O’Rourke equates to an illegal $10 million campaign contribution by the network.

O’Rourke plans to participate in a one-hour, live town hall at the Performing Arts Center on Thursday with a CNN correspondent, and because it’s a solo sit down, Neal Dikeman, the Libertarian candidate, believes that the forum “constitutes a prohibited political contribution,” he said in a written statement on Monday.

Originally, CNN wanted to have town halls with O’Rourke and incumbent U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz. But Cruz declined, the network said.

In the complaint, which was filed with the Federal Elections Commission, Dikeman said Thursday’s event violates the law, essentially giving O’Rourke millions of advertising dollars for free.

“Politics should not be about money, and corporations should not be funding politicians,” Dikeman said in a statement. “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.”

Thursday’s town hall will be hosted by CNN Chief Political Correspondent Dana Bash. On Tuesday, Cruz and O’Rourke will debate for the second time, this one occurring at KENS 5 television studio in San Antonio.

President Donald Trump also plans to hold a “major rally” for Cruz on the first day of early voting, Oct. 22, at the NRG Arena in Houston.