At least two Florida Congressmen say they won’t accept donations from Big Tech companies or associated PACs.
U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz said he will refuse all such donations, and he called on all lawmakers to do the same.
“My congressional colleagues should join me in refusing all PAC money from Big Tech,” the Panhandle Republican tweeted.
“Until that happens, Congress will not do anything about major tech platforms’ censorship because they are bought off by Big Tech.”
They came weeks after U.S. Rep. Greg Steube, a Sarasota Republican, told Brietbart he would stop accepting any donations from Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon. He said watching a Fox News report where a colleague was grilled about donations made him decide to stop taking such contributions.
“Last night, after what I saw and after obviously what is truly going on, I told my campaign staff we’re not accepting any more campaign donations from any of these companies,” Steube said.
Controversy has arisen on the right over decisions by Twitter and Facebook to limit sharing of a New York Post article on Hunter Biden, the son of presidential candidate Joe Biden. The article included information from a hard drive data obtained through President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani. The data included emails purportedly showing a top advisor to Burisma thanking the younger Biden for introducing him to his father, then Vice President.
The social media platforms said the articles, including information containing hacked materials, violated their terms of service. Facing criticism for blocking the story, Twitter changed its policies on Friday.
The FBI is investigating whether the emails at the core of the story are part of a Russian disinformation campaign to meddle in the U.S. election.
Gaetz is seeking a third term in the House, and faces Democrat Phil Ehr in Florida 1st Congressional District. Steube, a freshman, is in a rematch with Democrat Allen Ellison in Florida’s 17th Congressional District. Both are favorites to win reelection in heavily GOP jurisdictions.
The anti-PAC stance is familiar territory for Gaetz.
The Shalimar Republican made headlines earlier this year when he told the crowd gathered at the Conservative Political Action Conference he would no longer accept PAC money and implored other Republicans to follow suit.
“Honest capitalism is under attack. Not just from Bernie Sanders, antifa and the radical left — but by special interests and political action committees in the swamp of Washington D.C.,” Gaetz said in February.
Though Gaetz is often the object of derision from Democrats, the commitment earned him praise from across the aisle.
“I appreciate that Matt Gaetz will join me in saying no to all PAC money and leadership PACs,” U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna, a California Democrat, said at the time. “He made the announcement at CPAC, showing that that people across the political spectrum are desperate for reform.”
About 62% of Gaetz’s contributions this year came from small donations under $200, according to Open Secrets. Another 37% came from large donations, and less than 1.5% came from PACS. For Steube, PAC donations make up greater than 47% of his contributions, while 42% came from large donations and about 7% came from small donors.