STATEMENT: FEC Must Take Action Against Secret Purchase of Online Political Ads, CAP’s Liz Kennedy Says

Washington, D.C. — Today, good government and grassroots groups delivered more than 100,000 comments calling on the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to create new rules to prevent secret sponsors from buying online political advertisements. In response, Liz Kennedy, director of Democracy and Government Reform at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:

Americans have a right to know the true source of the funds used to influence our elections, whether those ads are broadcast on TV or displayed online. The FEC must begin a rule-making to provide clear guidance on disclaimer requirements for online political ads. The lack of clear guidance has allowed well-funded interests, including foreign states, to anonymously influence U.S. elections. It is abundantly clear that FEC action on this is overdue, and the CAP has submitted a comment urging the FEC to move forward with a rule-making without delay. CAP also strongly supports the commonsense bipartisan Honest Ads Act, which would apply some of the same basic disclosure requirements to online ads as it does to television ads—and importantly, it would require social media companies to take reasonable steps to prevent foreign influence in our elections. At a time when foreign adversaries are exploiting our divisions to subvert America’s democracy, it is urgent that we take real, immediate steps to root out foreign influence and shine a light on all political spending so voters are well-informed to run our democracy.

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