Democracy activists hit Capitol Hill this morning with personal messages from more than 150,000 Americans – including nearly 18,000 Common Causers – who want the Federal Election Commission to require disclosure of the purchasers of online political advertising.
“Everyone has a right to know who is trying to influence our views and our votes,” Common Cause’s Stephen Spaulding told reporters at a news conference announcing the deliveries. The typed and handwritten notes were gathered over the last few weeks, as more evidence has emerged of a massive online campaign by the Russian government to disrupt the U.S. election and aid the campaign of now-President Donald Trump.
You can watch Spaulding's full remarks in the video below, beginning at the 13-minute mark
WATCH: Progressive shine spotlight on Russian political spendi...
Watch live: Senate Democrats and progressive organizations including CREDO announce 100,000+ public comments demanding the FEC protect our democracy and require disclosures for internet campaign ads.Posted by CREDO Mobile on Thursday, November 9, 2017
Online advertisers spent more than $1.4 billion last year to post political messages on the internet, Spaulding noted, but voters often had no information about who was paying for those messages.
While Facebook has acknowledged selling more than $100,000 worth of political ads to Russia-connected advertisers, the government of President Vladimir Putin apparently spent far more to open bogus accounts and post phony messages on Facebook, Twitter and other online platforms.
Internet users spread those messages to more than 100 million Americans by “liking” or sharing them on social networks, becoming unwitting accomplices to the Russian cyber-espionage effort.
“In poll after poll, Americans have made very clear that they want to know whom or what is bankrolling the political ads that clog their internet feeds attempting to sway their votes,” said Common Cause President Karen Hobert Flynn. “It is time for the FEC to bring online disclosure regulations into line with those that apply to television, radio and print, and for Congress to go further to strengthen disclosure requirements for paid online political activity.”
Democrats on the six-member FEC have pressed their colleagues to launch a rulemaking process that could produce regulations requiring disclosure of online political advertisers. But the commission’s three Republicans have so far blocked action.
Meanwhile, three senators – Amy Klobuchar, D-MN; Mark Warner, D-VA, and John McCain, R-AZ – are pushing their colleagues to back a proposed “Honest Ads Act” they introduced last month. The bill would write disclosure requirements into law, taking the decision about whether to impose them away from the notoriously-dysfunctional FEC.
Office: Common Cause National
Issues: Money in Politics