RFK Jr. Accuses CNN, Biden And Trump Campaigns Of Violating FEC Laws With Debate

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Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s campaign filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) against CNN and the presidential campaigns of President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump Tuesday.

Trump and Biden agreed to debate twice, one hosted by CNN on June 27, the other hosted by ABC on Sept. 10. Kennedy, who receives 10.4% in the RealClearPolitics average of polls that include him, Trump, Biden, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein and independent presidential candidate Cornel West, was not invited to the debates. (RELATED: ‘Minds Aren’t Changing’: CNN Data Guru Says Bragg Trial Isn’t Derailing ‘Trump Train’)

“By demanding our campaign meet different criteria to participate in the debate than Presidents Biden and Trump, CNN’s debate violates FEC law and is a large prohibited corporate contribution to both the Biden and Trump campaigns,” Kennedy claimed in a Wednesday release.

“CNN colluded with the Biden Committee and the Trump Committee to schedule and did schedule a debate with criteria that were designed to result in the selection of certain pre-chosen participants, namely Biden and Trump, in a clear breach of federal campaign finance law,” the Kennedy campaign’s complaint says. “The available evidence leads to the clear conclusion that CNN is making prohibited corporate contributions to both campaigns and the Biden Committee and the Trump Committee have accepted these prohibited corporate contributions, resulting in violations of federal campaign finance law.”

Trump leads Biden by 1.1% in the RealClearPolitics average of general election polls for a head-to-head matchup as of Tuesday, with the lead growing to 1.8% when Stein, Kennedy and West are included.

Kennedy’s campaign claimed that since Trump and Biden have not been formally nominated by their respective parties, that they were not guaranteed to be on the ballot.

If the Democratic Party nominates Mr. Biden as its presidential candidate, this will not happen until the Democratic Party National Convention in August 2024. If the Republican Party nominates Mr. Trump as its presidential candidate, it will not do so until the Republican Party National Convention in July 2024,” the FEC complaint says. “Both dates are long after CNN’s June 20, 2024 date to qualify for the debate and after the June 27, 2024 debate itself.”

A spokesperson for former President Trump referred the Daily Caller News Foundation to a May 16 post on Truth Social.

“Crooked Joe Biden does not want RFK Jr. in the debates because Junior’ is far left him and they would be debating over the same territory, like ridiculous Open Borders and the Green New Scam, both of which are killing our Country,” Trump posted.

“RFK Jr. is a radical leftist and environmental whack job who wants to impose a 70% tax, end gasoline powered engines, loves EV mandates, and called the NRA a terror group,” Trump campaign national spokesperson Karoline Leavitt said in a statement provided to the DCNF. “Kennedy is an existential threat to Crooked Joe Biden not President Trump. That’s why Crooked Joe and his liberal cronies are desperately fighting to keep Kennedy off the ballot in several states. President Trump implemented one of the largest middle-class tax cuts in history, created historic prosperous economy that improved the lives of every American, and holds our Second Amendment rights sacred. President Trump has no problem debating RFK Jr. because he is a radical leftist and gun grabber just like Crooked Joe Biden.”

CNN denied the Kennedy campaign’s allegations in a statement to the DCNF.

“The law in virtually every state provides that the nominee of a state-recognized political party will be allowed ballot access without petitioning,” a CNN spokesperso told the DCNF. “As the presumptive nominees of their parties both Biden and Trump will satisfy this requirement. As an independent candidate, under applicable laws RFK, Jr. does not. The mere application for ballot access does not guarantee that he will appear on the ballot in any state. In addition, RFK, Jr. does not currently meet our polling criteria, which, like the other objective criteria, were set before issuing invitations to the debate.”

The Biden presidential campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the DCNF.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated with responses from the Trump campaign and CNN.

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