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Proposed Legislation
Proposed in October 2017

Summary

During the last election and a plethora of time after it, many congressional lawmakers and experts have hypothesized that the Russians had some form of influence during our national election. A group of senators introduced a bill that would mandate online political advisers to provide information about their aids. This information may pertain to who is paying for the aids or any other information to prevent foreign governments from influencing our US elections. Democratic senators Mark Warner and Amy Klobucher introduced the Honest Ads Act and it was cosponsored by Republican Senator John McCain. Klobuchar claimed that “Our entire democracy was founded on the simple idea that the people in our country should be self-governing. Now, 240 years later, our democracy is at risk. Russia attacked our elections, and they and other foreign powers and interests will continue to divide our country if we don’t act now.” READ MORE

Analysis

Adam Sharp, former head of news, government, and election on Twitter claimed that “It’s a good piece of legislation to address the modern realities of campaign financing and the need for disclosure”. In addition, the bill amends the Bipartisan Campaign Reform of 2002 by requiring tech platforms with more than 50 million monthly users to “maintain and make available for online public inspection a record of advertisers who spend at least $500 on the platform for advertising on campaign issues”. This legislation will solve a major regulatory blind spot because online political aids are unregulated in the status quo. This is key as the Internet Research Agency found that Facebook created nearly 470 fake accounts with purchases up to $100,000 ads, Twitter had 200 accounts and Google had discovered $4,700 worth of ads. At the end of this day, this piece of legislation increases the level of transparency since it requires disclosures by these tech giants. This sentiment was repeated by Alex Howard, deputy director of the Sunlight Foundation (a government transparency advocacy group) when he claimed “This is a substantive legislative proposal that addresses the online disclosure gap that we and other good-government advocates and campaign-finance experts have talked about for years.

Engagement Resources

  • Town Hall Project– This project compiles the open-to-the-public events held by state and local representatives. This provides a great opportunity to tell them that this executive order will do more bad than good. You can also dial 1-844-6-RESIST to be redirected to the office of your local member of Congress.
  • US Senate – Contact your local representatives to take a stance against this proposed legislation.
  • US House of Representatives – Contact your local representatives to take a stance against this proposed legislation

This brief was compiled by Vaibhav Kumar. If you have comments or want to add the name of your organization to this brief please contact vaibhav@usresistnews.org.


 

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