WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) released the below statement following today’s Federal Election Commission (FEC) release of two draft rules regarding the disclosure of online advertisements.
“Today's release of the Federal Election Commission drafts is a very small step because neither proposal resolves the real problem. First, the drafts do not address disclaimers for issue ads, and we know that the vast majority of Facebook ads purchased by Russia in the last election were issue ads. Second, the drafts do not provide the transparency we need when it comes to disclosure of political ads, which is now required for print, television, and radio ads. These proposals would only provide a narrow solution while leaving many political ads unregulated.
“This is why we need to pass my bipartisan Honest Ads Act immediately to ensure that all paid political ads, including issue ads, are subject to the same disclaimer and disclosure requirements already in place for other mediums. Our top intelligence officials have made it clear that foreign adversaries are currently interfering in 2018 elections—we can’t afford to wait.”
In October, Klobuchar introduced the Honest Ads Act with U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence, and U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, to help prevent foreign interference in future elections and improve the transparency of online political advertisements. Russia attempted to influence the 2016 presidential election by buying and placing political ads on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Google. The content and purchaser(s) of those online advertisements are a mystery to the public because of outdated laws that have failed to keep up with evolving technology. The Honest Ads Act would prevent foreign actors from influencing our elections by ensuring that political ads sold online are covered by the same rules as ads sold on TV, radio, and satellite.