The FEC is Taking Action against Political Ads

Campaigns Skirt Political Ad Rules by Paying Influencers to Push Them to Make Money

Campaigns Skirt Political Ad Rules by Paying Influencers to Push Them to Make Money

by David Brock

Since the Supreme Court decision that allowed political ad buying on social media platforms like Facebook, Google and YouTube, advertising expenditures have increased exponentially. Campaigns that can afford it and political organizations that need to get attention have become more sophisticated in their advertising, and now the biggest ad spenders are using this new freedom to skirt existing rules and regulations. It turns out that even when you legally advertise a message on platforms like Facebook, a disclaimer can be a powerful tool to tell the story of your political message. Sometimes this means using paid media to advertise, and sometimes the message still ends up on Facebook.

A few weeks ago, my client, Public Citizen, filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) over the campaign groups that were buying political ads on Facebook that were not identified as ads but were instead called endorsements. I believe most Americans would be shocked at how many ads were bought. There are now many rules in place about political ads, but this ruling means that the FEC can now take enforcement action against companies for this activity. What happened in this case is a little different from other ads-but-endorsements where political groups have used these campaigns to promote their agenda, and now other groups will be able to use them to push their agenda down the ballot.

I’m going to take a close look at this situation to see who is being used to push their own political agenda, and what they are doing to skirt the law and the FEC.

In this situation, the “ad” in question was called “We Support Planned Parenthood.” This is a typical ad on Facebook that is used to push an issue. In this case, Planned Parenthood has been identified as the political organization that was supporting this ad. The ad in question was posted as if to a Planned Parenthood Facebook page. It read as follows:

We Support Planned Parenthood Proud to

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