06.15.18

Kilmer Amends Appropriations Bill to Demand Online Political Ad Transparency Report

KILMER: “Americans deserve to know who’s buying the political ads they see online. Congress should pass the Honest Ads Act so transparency is the law, and the Federal Elections Commission should have a clear plan to make the system more transparent.”

WASHINGTON, DCThis week, Representative Derek Kilmer (D-WA) successfully amended a House spending bill to demand a new report from the Federal Election Commission on how it plans to shine a light on the murky world of online political advertising.

“Americans deserve to know who’s buying the political ads they see online,” Kilmer said. “Congress should pass the Honest Ads Act so transparency is the law, and the Federal Elections Commission should have a clear plan to make the system more transparent.”

 Kilmer’s amendment to the FY2019 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act requires the Federal Election Commission, which polices the nation’s campaign finance beat, to report to Congress how it plans to help voters understand who paid for the political ads they see in their newsfeeds.

Currently, there are disclosure requirements for political ads on television and radio but not on the internet. Kilmer introduced The Honest Ads Act in the House. The bill would shine a light on the murky world of online political advertising by requiring the same disclosure rules that TV and radio currently require.

According to The Verge, Congress has had hearings to grill Facebook’s executives, but its leaders have not held a hearing on any bill to regulate online political ads. In that climate, Kilmer has successfully used the tactic of adding reports to appropriations bills to move the ball on campaign finance reform. Earlier this year, President Trump signed a spending bill into law that included Kilmer-drafted language directing the FEC to issue a report on what it is currently doing, and what it needs, to enforce the laws banning foreign donations in political elections.

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Kilmer delivered remarks when he offered the amendment. Please contact Tim.biba@mail.house.gov for a link to broadcast-quality clips of those remarks.