The Republican National Committee is suing Google for allegedly sending its campaign emails to people’s spam folders.
The RNC filed a lawsuit in federal court in California on Friday claiming that Google is, “unlawfully discriminating against the Republican National Committee (“RNC”) by throttling its email messages because of the RNC’s political affiliation and views.”
“Google has relegated millions of RNC emails en masse to potential donors’ and supporters’ spam folders during pivotal points in election fundraising and community building. The timing of Google’s most egregious filtering is particularly damning,” the RNC said in the lawsuit.
CNN reported in August that federal election regulators voted to allow Google to proceed with a plan to make it easier for campaign emails to bypass spam filters.
Google’s pilot program changes the filters for political emails, allowing them to bypass the company’s algorithms for sorting emails into spam. Instead, political emails will land in spam folders only if users take action to mark them as spam.
The proposal to run a pilot project came after intense Republican criticism that spam filters were biased against conservatives, a charge the tech giant denies. In a sign of public disgust with spam, the Federal Election Commission received thousands of public comments urging it to deny the request.
But a majority of the six-member commission decided that Google’s project did not constitute an improper in-kind political contribution that would violate federal campaign finance laws.
Yet, the RNC alleges that “discrimination has been ongoing for about ten months – despite the RNC’s best efforts to work with Google.”
“Throughout 2022, the RNC has engaged with Google month after month to obtain an explanation and a solution,” the RNC said in the lawsuit. “But every explanation has been refuted and every solution has failed. Google continues to suppress the RNC’s emails, and now Google has fallen silent, refusing to discuss the issue further. The only reasonable inference is that Google is intentionally sending critical RNC emails to the spam folder because it’s the RNC sending them.”
CNN has reached out to Google for comment.