FEC Bows to Pressure and Votes to Open Rulemaking for Online Political Ad Disclosure

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Statement of Karen Hobert Flynn, Common Cause President Karen Hobert Flynn

Americans expect and deserve to know who is bankrolling the political ads that follow them around the internet. In the wake of revelations about Russian use of internet ads to sway the 2016 presidential race, Common Cause and 17,945 members and supporters made that expectation very clear to the FEC, filing comments with the agency last week. In total, more than 150,000 Americans spoke out in comments and petitions with the agency—an FEC rulemaking record.

We are glad to see the FEC moving forward with a rulemaking, but the commission needs to follow through and pass rules with teeth that effectively require disclosure of who pays for online political ads. The devil will be in the details and we intend to watch those details closely. We will be urging our one million members to file more comments to keep the commission on task to drag the $1.4 billion, and growing, pool of online political advertising into the light.