“FEC Votes to Explore Disclosure Rules for Online Ads”

Ken Doyle for Bloomberg BNA:

The Federal Election Commission voted unanimously to jump-start a rulemaking process focused on disclosure requirements for online ads, following the revelation of Russian-linked political ads on Facebook.
The vote, at the end of a lengthy commission meeting Sept. 14, was a possible breakthrough for the FEC. In the months following the first reports that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to support President Donald Trump, Republican and Democratic commissioners have been deeply divided over whether new rules may be needed to protect U.S. campaigns from foreign influence.
Foreign money has long been outlawed in U.S. elections. The FEC and others have struggled, however, to determine whether Russian actions in the last presidential campaign violated existing rules and whether new rules should be considered.
Ellen Weintraub, a Democratic FEC commissioner, has pushed the commission to consider new rules to protect future elections. She called the FEC’s latest vote to reopen a long-dormant rulemaking, which could beef up disclaimer requirements for online political ads, a “baby step in the right direction.”
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