$150,000 in Russian Facebook Political Ads Necessitate Immediate FEC Response

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  • David Vance
Statement of Common Cause President Karen Hobert Flynn

Today’s revelations that fake accounts in Russia bought approximately $150,000 in political ads on Facebook demand a complete and immediate response from the Federal Election Commission. The Commission’s intransigence on the issue curbing the threat of foreign influence in our elections must stop now as this is likely only the tip of the iceberg.

Its next public meeting is September 14th, and Chairman Walther should clearly articulate what steps the agency will take to assure the public that it is doing its job to enforce our campaign finance laws, including those prohibiting foreign interference in American elections. We are only 14 months away from the 2018 midterms and the agency should explain what it is doing now to address these threats. The Commission has many tools at its disposal – enforcement, policymaking, and outreach to the public among them. Although press reports indicate that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating this specific matter, nothing precludes the agency from using its own tools. 

Commissioner Ellen Weintraub and former Commissioner Ann Ravel repeatedly urged their Republican colleagues on the Commission to join them in responding to these new dangers. It is long past time for the rest of the Commission to ignore partisan pressures and act in the best interest of the country.