A Kentucky radio host toying with the idea of running for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell‘s seat next year announced that he has been taken off the air following a complaint to the Federal Elections Commission by the state’s Republican Party.
“Due to the Mitch McConnell complaint filed this morning with the FEC against me, iHeart Radio has asked that I not be on the show in the upcoming days,” Matt Jones wrote on the Kentucky Sports Radio website late Wednesday.
The state GOP has accused Jones of “serious violations” of campaign regulations and using his show to promote himself, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported. Jones is also accused of accepting corporate contributions toward his campaign and failing to report expenditures to the FEC.
The complaint, filed by Republican Party of Kentucky Chairman J. McCauley, further alleges that Simon & Schuster, the publisher of Jones’ upcoming book, “Mitch, Please,” is paying for his campaign.
“Matt Jones must be held accountable immediately for misusing multiple platforms paid for by his corporate sponsors to unlawfully promote his US Senate candidacy,” the complaint reads. “RPK’s complaint is an important first step in stopping Jones’ flagrant failure to comply with federal regulations, and we urge the FEC to deliver a swift a strong penalty.”
The complaint also alleges iHeartMedia, the distributor of Jones’ show, made “in-kind” contributions by letting Jones give his opinions over the airwaves.
In his statement, Jones called the complaint “absolute nonsense” and disappointing from “someone as powerful as McConnell.”
“One would think that a man who has at his disposal all the media outlets in America, an unending supply of corporate donations and all the platforms a person could ever need would not be frightened of a sports radio show in Kentucky,” Jones wrote.
“I have said repeatedly in public and in filings with the FEC that I am not yet a candidate and I haven’t used the show to raise money or talk about my exploratory Committee in any way,” he added. “Nevertheless, Senator McConnell has complained that having me on air is unfair and the man who speaks about the importance of free speech and the exchange of ideas has decided to cut off mine.”
Jones has formed an exploratory committee to run as a Democrat against McConnell, WLKY-TV reported. Another Democrat, Amy McGrath, has already filed to run.
McConnell’s office did not immediately respond to a Fox News request for comment Thursday.
Jones said over Twitter he does not blame iHeart Radio for being taken off the air. He said he hopes to work with the company and KSR in the future should he decide not to run.
“For the time being however, I won’t be on the show,” his statement said. “I had hoped to do the show for a couple more weeks, make my decision and then take time off to finish my book and regroup after a long process. Thanks to Senator McConnell that time will apparently start now.”
On Thursday, #FreeMattJones was trending on Twitter after news of the complaint got out. Several users accused McConnell and the GOP of suppressing free speech and hypocrisy.
Source: Politico Usa News