This is big. Federal Election Commissioner Ellen Weintraub is pushing the FEC to investigate whether Russian agents purchased Facebook ads to swing the 2016 election.1
Tell the FEC: Investigate reports of Russian agents illegally buying Facebook ads to help swing the 2016 election!
As you probably know, foreign nationals are forbidden from spending any money in US elections, whether at the local, state, or national level.
But watchdog groups believe that Russian agents may have spent money spreading negative stories on Facebook in the lead up to November’s election.2
If this is true, it would be a clear violation of US law.
Trump and his allies are eager to push anything having to do with Russian meddling under the rug — but it’s vital for our democracy that all institutions, including the FEC, use their power to get to the bottom of what happened this past November.
Trump is breaking cherished and long-held democratic norms left and right — and institutions like the FEC cannot allow themselves to be intimidated out of doing their jobs.
A top money-in-politics watchdog called the investigation into Russian influence in our election “possibly the single most important campaign finance investigation in the agency’s entire history.”3
Despite the fact that all-too-often the FEC gets stuck in partisan gridlock, in this case, the entire commission unanimously agreed to prioritize investigations into foreign influence in our elections.4
The reports of Russian Facebook ad purchases are just the latest in a string of disturbing revelations. The US intelligence community has already concluded that the Russian government used paid social media users or “trolls” to influence the election, and even hacked a major national political party.5
The prospect that this activity may have been coordinated with the Trump campaign is even more disturbing. There is significant reason for concern, including Mr. Trump’s public request for the Russian government to hack and distribute his opponent’s e-mails, and various undisclosed meetings during the campaign between Trump campaign advisors and Russian government officials. 6
Tell the FEC: Launch an investigation into whether Russian agents illegally bought Facebook ads or took other measures to influence our election, and whether any of this activity was coordinated with the Trump campaign.
1. CNN Tech, "FEC official worried about 'foreign money' spent on Facebook election ads," May 24, 2017.
2. Politico, "FEC member urges escalated Trump-Russia inquiry," May 23, 2017.
5. U.S. Director of National Intelligence, “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections,” Jan. 6, 2017.
6. Washington Post, “Timeline: What we know about Trump’s campaign, Russia and the investigation of the two,” May 30, 2017.