FEC Urged to Amend Regulation to Account for False AI Content

Today, Common Cause and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights filed comments with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) in support of a petition for rulemaking filed by Public Citizen to amend its regulation on “fraudulent misrepresentation” to include “deliberately false Artificial Intelligence-generated content in campaign ads or other communications.”

The comments focus on the seriousness of the threat, the broad harm it poses to our democracy and cites examples of AI deepfakes and other AI-generated content that is already turning up in our elections. They note that disinformation has proliferated since the 2016 election and that the 2024 election is expected to see a spike in the use of AI to produce false and misleading content.

It is imperative that the FEC keep pace with new technology to make sure that regulations are relevant in the 21st century,” said Ishan Mehta, Common Cause Media and Democracy Program Director.AI is already being used in elections, we’ve seen examples in Chicago mayoral race and the Republican primary. Disinformation has already proven a serious threat to our democracy and AI increases the danger it poses exponentially.”

The Comments from the Leadership Conference and Common Cause emphasize that Black and brown communities have historically been targets of voter suppression and disinformation. They emphasize that those communities and non-English speakers will be disproportionately harmed by deepfakes and other AI-generated disinformation.

The comments stress that states are already acting on their own to curb the use of deepfakes in elections but the FEC must act to curb this threat at the federal level. And the comments make absolutely clear that the FEC has the authority to undertake this rulemaking.

“The FEC has both the responsibility and the authority to act to make it absolutely clear that AI deepfakes are subject to the prohibitions on fraudulent misrepresentation in the Federal Election Campaign Act’,” said Stephen Spaulding, Common Cause Vice President for Policy & External Affairs. “Deepfakes and AI-generated disinformation pose too great a threat to our democracy to be ignored and the FEC must act promptly to address them.”

To read the comments, click here.