Pro-Trump Republican Corey Stewart Benefited From Illegal Campaign Ads on Facebook

Vice News

In the final weeks before Virginia’s primary elections on June 12, a previously obscure Facebook page, “Virginians against Time Kaine,” began running ads promoting Republican Corey Stewart, an unapologetic pro-Trump Republican who has made Confederate nostalgia a centerpiece of his campaign to replace Kaine in the Senate.

“If this page is run by the Stewart campaign, all of its ads should include a 'paid for by Stewart for Senate' message. If it is run by somebody else, ads that expressly advocate for or against candidates should include a disclaimer stating the name of the group that paid for the ads, and the 'not authorized by any candidate or committee' language,” said Brendan Fischer, the director of federal and FEC reform at the Campaign Legal Center. “One way or the other, it is violating disclaimer requirements.”

Some of the watchdog groups, like Campaign Legal Center, argue that “Virginians against Tim Kaine” is just one example of why the online political ad market requires beefed-up federal regulators. “I think this speaks to the limits of Facebook’s self-regulation, because they aren’t independently verifying that people are reporting with the FEC,” said Fischer.

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