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Photo Illustration: A Gmail inbox filling with emails
Justine Goode; MSNBC

Prepare your inbox: Google to help GOP evade your spam filter

The FEC opened the door for Google to test out a new program that will let politicians get around spam filters to beg you for money.


The Federal Elections Commission on Thursday paved the way for political beggars to flood your inbox with emails by evading spam filters.

In a 4-1 vote, with three Republicans and one Democrat in the majority, the commission approved a Google-run pilot program that will allow political campaigns to circumvent spam filters to send those annoying “JUST $5 MORE DOLLARS” emails, and others like them. (One Democratic commissioner voted against it, and one abstained.)

For months, Republicans have demanded Google set up an end-around specifically for politicians to reach voters, and they’ve scapegoated the spam filters as a major reason their party has seen online donations dry up lately.

Introspection clearly isn’t the GOP’s strong suit. Otherwise, they’d probably point to their deeply unpopular policy priorities — like banning abortion — as a culprit for their donor drop-off. 

To give you a sense of how we got here: Republicans have seized on a study out of North Carolina State University released this year as evidence of anti-conservative bias at Google. But the study’s own authors have claimed Republicans are misrepresenting their findings. In fact, the study found various email platforms exhibited unintentional bias toward both conservatives and progressives, but it found this bias could be remedied if people simply adjust their email settings. 

To that point, a Mashable article published in May took a hacksaw to the GOP’s claims of bias, arguing any problems getting people to read and respond to their fundraising pleas are likely a result of poorly crafted emails more so than anything nefarious. 

Nonetheless, the FEC ruling allows Google to move forward with the program, which is expected to last about six months. It wasn't immediately clear when the program will begin.

Prepare your inboxes, America. The grifters are coming.