A Google spokesperson told the Post the study "has major flaws," including "an exceedingly small sample size, [an] outdated two-year-old data" and failing to account "for whether candidates optimized their domains to send bulk emails." Meanwhile, Republican strategist Erick Erickson suggested the study findings could be attributed to Republican campaigns sending out spam-like emails. "Republican consultants are blaming Google and Apple for blocking their emails. But when you have a sense of the daily volume, you realize Google and Apple are helping their users while GOP consultants are abusing their email lists," he tweeted last August.

Many Republican politicians seized on the study as "proof" that a big tech company was biased against them, perhaps even intentionally so. Sen. Steve Daines (R–Mont.) opined that the study "unmistakably exposed Big Tech's most egregious attempt to tilt the scale toward left-wing candidates."

A group of Republican senators even introduced a bill to ban any email service from using algorithms to automatically apply spam labels to any political campaign emails.

Republicans also filed a complaint with the FEC. More from the Wall Street Journal:

The Republican National Committee and others contended that the alleged benefit amounted to unreported campaign contributions to Democrats. But in a letter to Google last week, the FEC said it "found no reason to believe" that Google made prohibited in-kind corporate contributions, and that any skewed results from its spam-filter algorithms were inadvertent.

"Google has credibly supported its claim that its spam filter is in place for commercial reasons and thus did not constitute a contribution" within the meaning of federal campaign laws, according to an FEC analysis reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

The FEC said it has now closed its file on the issue.

"The Commission's bipartisan decision to dismiss this complaint reaffirms that Gmail does not filter emails for political purposes," Google spokesman José Castañeda said. "We'll continue to invest in our Gmail industry-leading spam filters because, as the FEC notes, they're important to protecting people's inboxes from receiving unwanted, unsolicited, or dangerous messages."