The Federal Election Commission said on Thursday that a Silicon Valley security company could immediately start helping 2020 presidential candidates defend their campaigns from the kinds of malicious email attacks that Russian hackers exploited in the 2016 election.
The F.E.C. made its advisory opinion one month after lawyers for the commission advised it to block a request by the company, Area 1 Security, which had sought to provide services to 2020 presidential candidates at a discount. The F.E.C. lawyers said that Area 1 would be violating campaign finance laws that prohibit corporations from offering free or discounted services to federal candidates. The same law also prevents political parties from offering candidates cybersecurity assistance because it is considered an “in-kind donation.”