Oct. 19, 2017 – Today, Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), John McCain (R-AZ) and Mark Warner (D-VA) introduced the bipartisan “Honest Ads Act” to combat interference by foreign entities in U.S. politics. The bill would ensure that paid political advertising appearing on large online platforms would be subject to similar disclosure standards that are currently applied to paid political ads on television and radio. A bipartisan companion measure in the House was also introduced today by Reps. Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and Mike Coffman (R-CO).
“The bipartisan, bicameral Honest Ads Act introduced today should be the basis for robust hearings in Congress about protecting our political system from foreign influence,” said Issue One Chief of Policy, Programs and Strategy Meredith McGehee.
McGehee added: “Our 20th century laws are out of date and overmatched by the 21st century reality of political campaigns. Foreign powers are hijacking the avenues Americans use to communicate, organize and debate with each other. Issue One commends these lawmakers in both chambers for working together on carefully-crafted legislation that seeks to ensure online, paid political ads on the largest platforms are treated similarly to paid political advertisements on television and radio.
Congress’s first concern should be to safeguard our democracy from foreign entities we know are seeking to undermine the American public’s faith in our government and to do the country harm.
Addressing the problem of foreign interference in U.S. politics requires Democrats and Republicans working together in both chambers of Congress.”
Issue One Chief Executive Officer Nick Penniman said, “Strong, bipartisan efforts like this in Congress remind us that some lawmakers are listening to the concerns of the American people about the security of the infrastructure supporting political debate in this country. I agree with the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia who said anonymous political campaigns do not represent the home of the brave.
Further, as a former journalist and publisher who believes strongly in the First Amendment, I would want to ensure my publication was not financially benefiting from foreign interference in our democratic process.”
Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee and is the ranking member on the Senate Rules Committee. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) is the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) is the vice chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence.
Issue One is a nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy organization dedicated to political reform and government ethics in order to strengthen democracy and return government to the American people. Issue One’s ReFormers Caucus of more than 180 former members of Congress, governors and Cabinet officials is the largest bipartisan coalition of its kind ever assembled to advocate for solutions to fix our democracy. Learn more at issueone.org.