MIL-OSI USA: Golden, Fitzpatrick introduce bipartisan bill to close foreign funding loophole in American elections

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Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Jared Golden (ME-02)

WASHINGTON — Congressmen Jared Golden (ME-02) and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) today introduced the Block Foreign-Funded Political Ads Act, which would protect our elections from foreign interference and influence by preventing foreign nationals, governments, and organizations abroad from funding political advertisements on online ad sellers, including social media platforms. 

“Our adversaries shouldn’t be able to pay to have their propaganda amplified, nor influence and stoke division in the American political process,” said Golden. “Working with platforms to keep foreign actors out of political advertising will make our democracy more resilient and amplify the voices of those who matter most in our elections: Americans.”

“Our nation’s foreign adversaries cannot be permitted to influence our elections, especially by funding political advertisements related to any candidate, issue, ballot initiative, or referendum,” said Congressman Fitzpatrick. “Our bipartisan Block Foreign-Funded Political Ads Act will prevent undue foreign influence by prohibiting foreign nationals from purchasing political ads from television broadcasters, cable providers, and digital platforms. I am proud to lead this effort with Rep. Golden and grateful for his continued partnership on legislation to ensure that American elections are decided freely and fairly by the American people.”

The Block Foreign-Funded Political Ads Act would require online ad sellers such as Facebook to use credit card data to verify that political ads on their platforms are purchased from a U.S. address. 

Foreign influence on American elections remains a persistent issue, and while some online ad sellers have made efforts to address bad actors, many are still able to exploit loopholes in campaign finance law. Incentivizing platforms to use readily-available financial data to block non-American election spending is a common-sense solution to strengthen our democracy, reduce disinformation, and prevent foreign influence in our elections. 

Full text of the legislation can be found here.