Dems ask FEC to create new rules in response to Russian Facebook ads

Dems ask FEC to create new rules in response to Russian Facebook ads
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Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday asked the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to establish new guidelines for online advertising platforms that would prevent foreign spending to influence U.S. elections.

The move comes after Facebook provided information to Congress and special counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s election interference, about Russian ad purchases during the 2016 campaign.

"The recent revelations that foreign nationals with suspected ties to the Russian government sought to influence the 2016 election through social media advertisements are deeply concerning and demand a response," 20 House and Senate Democrats wrote in the letter.

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"We are fast approaching the 2018 election cycle. As such, it is imperative the Federal Election Commission begin this effort in earnest," they wrote.

Facebook said it sold thousands of political ads over the past two years to fake accounts based in Russia. The social network estimated that 470 such accounts, which have since been suspended, spent about $100,000 on close to 3,000 ads.

CNN, which first reported on the Democrats' letter, cited Facebook sources saying they expect Congress may try to require disclaimers on online political ads in the future, similar to political television ads.

The Democratic lawmakers suggested that any FEC guidance address how foreign actors can use corporate or nonprofit designations to avoid disclosing political spending; what advertisement platforms can do to prevent foreign campaign activity; and possible changes to disclosure standards for political advertisements.

They asked for a response from the FEC by Oct. 4.

The letter was signed by Democratic Sens. Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichCNN congressional correspondent talks about her early love of trolls and family Overnight Energy: DNC to reject fossil fuel donations | Regulators see no security risk in coal plant closures | Senate committee rejects Trump EPA, Interior budgets Energy commission sees no national security risk from coal plant closures MORE (N.M.), Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenSenate panel to vote Thursday on Trump's pick to lead IRS On The Money: US files complaints at WTO | House leaders get deal to boost biz investment | Mnuchin says US will consider Iran sanctions waivers | FCC deals blow to Sinclair-Tribune merger Senate GOP poised to break record on Trump's court picks MORE (Ore.), Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallEPA deputy says he's not interested in Pruitt’s job Latina Leaders to Watch 2018 Overnight Energy: Spending bill targets Pruitt | Ryan not paying 'close attention' to Pruitt controversies | Yellowstone park chief learned of dismissal through press release MORE (N.M.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann Warren2020 Dems slam Trump over Putin presser Senate Dems rip Trump after Putin news conference Sanders: Trump should confront Putin over Mueller probe indictments MORE (Mass.), Maggie HassanMargaret (Maggie) HassanNew Hampshire governor signs controversial voting bill Conway takes aim at congressional intern who yelled 'f--- you' at Trump Fox's Regan defends CNN's Acosta, calls for civility: 'What has happened to us?' MORE (N.H.), Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinJuan Williams: Putin wins as GOP spins Senate passes resolution honoring victims of Capital Gazette shooting Biden rallies Dem support for progressive Md. governor candidate MORE (Md.), Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenFranken offers Dems a line of questioning for Kavanaugh's 'weirdly specific bit of bulls---' The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — GOP lawmakers race to find an immigration fix Richard Painter puts out 'dumpster fire' in first campaign ad MORE (Minn.), Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedSenate Dems tell Trump: Don't meet with Putin one-on-one Schumer: Trump should cancel meeting with Putin Senate votes to support NATO ahead of Trump summit MORE (R.I.), Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyHillicon Valley: Mueller indicts Russians for DNC hack | US officially lifts ZTE ban | AT&T CEO downplays merger challenge | Microsoft asks for rules on facial recognition technology | Dems want probe into smart TVs Dems push FTC to investigate smart TVs over privacy concerns Hillicon Valley: Hacker tried to sell military docs on dark web | Facebook fined over Cambridge Analytica | US closer to lifting ZTE ban | Trump, Obama lose followers in Twitter purge | DOJ weighs appeal on AT&T merger MORE (Mass.), Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenSenate Dems rip Trump after Putin news conference Overnight Defense: Fallout from tense NATO summit | Senators push to block ZTE deal in defense bill | Blackwater founder makes new pitch for mercenaries to run Afghan war Hillicon Valley: DOJ appeals AT&T-Time Warner ruling | FBI agent testifies in heated hearing | Uproar after FCC changes rules on consumer complaints | Broadcom makes bid for another US company | Facebook under fire over conspiracy sites MORE (Md.), Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownSenate Dems tell Trump: Don't meet with Putin one-on-one On The Money — Sponsored by Prudential — Trump walks back criticism of UK Brexit strategy | McConnell worries US in 'early stages' of trade war | US trade deficit with China hits new record Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices could offer a way forward in fight against mushrooming costs MORE (Ohio), Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump readies for Putin summit: 'He’s not my enemy’ Booker seizes on Kavanaugh confirmation fight Dem senator: Kavanaugh would 'turn back the clock' on women's health care MORE (N.J.), Bob Menendez (N.J.), Catherine Cortez Masto (Nev.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseWho is Andrew Wheeler, EPA's new acting chief? Congress can protect midterm elections with the Disclose Act Trump nominee vows to restore 'trust' in IRS MORE (R.I.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi Harris2020 Dems slam Trump over Putin presser McConnell: I won't be intimidated by protesters Booker seizes on Kavanaugh confirmation fight MORE (Calif.).

Four House members also signed on: Reps. John Sarbanes (Md.), John Conyers Jr. (Mich.), Elijah Cummings (Md.) and Derek KilmerDerek Christian KilmerDems urge Trump to reinstate top cyber post Congress to require FEC report on foreign money in elections With bills on the table, Congress must heed the call to fix our national parks MORE (Wash.).