Courthouse News: Elections Watchdog Warns of Midterm Meddling


The Campaign Legal Center said in a report released Wednesday that U.S. elections are still vulnerable to foreign interference and the group called on Congress, federal agencies and social media companies to take action to prevent meddling in this year’s midterm races.


“From flooding Facebook with carefully targeted paid advertisements to hacking [Democratic National Committee] servers to breaking into state voting records to quiet meetings in Trump Tower, we are learning that Russia employed a torrent of strategies to intervene in our elections,“ CLC President Trevor Potter said Wednesday during a conference call about the group’s report. “Just 10 months away from our next federal elections this year, it’s important for all of us to recognize these threats and think proactively about how to protect against them. Otherwise these types of actions and more threaten to undermine our democracy indefinitely.”


“The role of Facebook in particular in thwarting transparency legislation and regulation over the past several couple years can’t be understated,” CLC Program Director Brendan Fischer said. “For example, one reason we’ve had so many problems  with the application of disclaimer requirements to online political ads is because of an advisory opinion request that Facebook sought from the FEC in 2011 that helped create ambiguity that Russian actors exploited in the 2016 election in order to circulate political ads without any sort of transparency.”

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