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 HeinrichThis Thanksgiving, skip the political food fights and talk UFOs instead Degrees not debt will grow the economy Senators call for Smithsonian Latino, women's museums to be built on National Mall MORE (N.M.), Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenSenate parliamentarian looms over White House spending bill Democrats push tax credits to bolster clean energy Five reasons for concern about Democrats' drug price control plan MORE (Ore.), Tom UdallTom UdallRubio vows to slow-walk Biden's China, Spain ambassador nominees Senate confirms Thomas Nides as US ambassador to Israel Flake, Cindy McCain among latest Biden ambassadors confirmed after delay MORE (N.M.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren calls on big banks to follow Capital One in ditching overdraft fees Crypto firm top executives to testify before Congress Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker won't seek reelection MORE (Mass.), Maggie HassanMargaret (Maggie) HassanConservative group targeting Kelly, Hassan, Cortez Masto in multi-million-dollar ad blitz Biden signs four bills aimed at helping veterans Constant threats to government funding fail the American public MORE (N.H.), Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis Cardin Senators propose sanctions against Iran over alleged plot to kidnap US journalist It's time for Congress to guarantee Medigap Health Insurance for vulnerable Americans with kidney disease Senators call for Smithsonian Latino, women's museums to be built on National Mall MORE (Md.), Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenFranken rules out challenge against Gillibrand for Senate seat Franken targets senators from both parties in new comedy tour Al Franken on another Senate run: 'I'm keeping my options open' MORE (Minn.), Jack ReedJack ReedOvernight Defense & National Security — Quick vote on defense bill blocked again Rubio blocks quick votes on stalemated defense bill Overnight Defense & National Security — US, Iran return to negotiating table MORE (R.I.), Ed MarkeyEd MarkeySenators seek to curb counterfeit toys and goods sold online Senate GOP blocks defense bill, throwing it into limbo Equilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by Southern Company — Pledged money not going to Indigenous causes MORE (Mass.), Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenReal relief from high gas prices Senators call for Smithsonian Latino, women's museums to be built on National Mall Schumer-McConnell dial down the debt ceiling drama MORE (Md.), Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownSenate race in Ohio poses crucial test for Democrats Powell says Fed will consider faster taper amid surging inflation Biden faces new pressure from climate groups after Powell pick MORE (Ohio), Cory BookerCory BookerMaternal and child health legislation must be prioritized now Poll: Harris, Michelle Obama lead for 2024 if Biden doesn't run Five reasons for Biden, GOP to be thankful this season MORE (N.J.), Bob Menendez (N.J.), Catherine Cortez Masto (Nev.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseWhat's that you smell in the Supreme Court? The Hill's Morning Report - Ins and outs: Powell renominated at Fed, Parnell drops Senate bid On The Money — Biden sticks with Powell despite pressure MORE (R.I.) and Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisPolitics must accept the reality of multiracial America and disavow racial backlash Symone Sanders to leave the White House at the end of the year Bidens to attend Kennedy Center Honors following Trumps' absence MORE (Calif.).

Four House members also signed on: Reps. John Sarbanes (Md.), John Conyers Jr. (Mich.), Elijah Cummings (Md.) and Derek KilmerDerek Christian KilmerState Democrat group teams up with federal lawmakers to elect down-ballot candidates Washington redistricting panel reaches late agreement on new lines Democrats fear Virginia is precursor to House drubbing MORE (Wash.).