Did Facebook ads traced to a Russian company violate U.S. election law?
The news that a Russian company was behind 3,000 politically themed Facebook ads that appeared in the United States during the 2016 campaign has spurred calls for investigations and demands for better regulation of social media advertising.
So what happens next?
Along with Thursday’s Common Cause complaint, there is already a pending FEC complaint about possibly illegal Russian spending in the election that was filed in December by the watchdog groups Campaign for Accountability and Free Speech for People. Facebook’s revelations could be wrapped into the commission’s ongoing review of the existing complaint, which remains confidential until it is resolved.
“What’s important about the FEC investigation is that despite all of the FEC’s well-known problems, it is an independent bipartisan commission and it is not subject to interference by President Trump,” said Ron Fein, legal director at Free Speech for People. “This could be its finest hour.”
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