Feb 16, 2018

On heels of Russia indictment, lawmakers call for online ad rules

Photo: Nurphoto via Getty

Among the charges brought upon by special counsel Robert Mueller against 13 Russians accused of meddling in the 2016 election, was the act of illegally purchasing political advertisements on social media made to appear as an American source. Now, two democratic legislators are renewing their push to ban anonymous online political ads.

What they're saying: Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) released statements on Friday trying to rekindle interest in the Honest Ads Act, which would require online political ads to follow the same rules as television or print ads. "There is now a crystal clear account of Russians buying ads to sew discontent," Kilmer told Axios. "It's time to do something about it."

Where they left off: Rep. Kilmer introduced the bill with Sen. Coffman (R-CO) in October while a similar Senate bill was introduced by Sen. Warner, Sen. Klobuchar (D-MN) and Sen. McCain (R-AZ.) At the time, Facebook had recently announced to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees as well as the Senate Judiciary Committee that it ran more than 3,000 Russia-linked advertisements. Neither saw a vote.

"There's not a constituent I've spoken to who believes this shouldn't pass. I have heard no concerns from any member of Congress...Frankly, the biggest challenge is not in this legislation, it's a congress that isn't exactly a legislative juggernaut."
— Rep. Kilmer to Axios

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