On Wednesday, 16 Democratic senators and four Democratic representatives signed a letter destined for the Federal Elections Commission (FEC). That letter addressed their concerns regarding foreign meddling in American elections, citing the recent revelation that Russian interests may have financed pro-Trump ads on Facebook.
Business Insider reported:
“Democrats in the House and Senate sent a letter to the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday urging it to “develop new guidance” on how to prevent illicit foreign spending in US elections in the wake of Facebook’s announcement that Russia-linked accounts purchased $100,000 worth of ads last year.
“The recent reports that foreign nationals with suspected ties to the Russian government sought to influence the 2016 election through social media advertisements are deeply concerning and demand a response,” the lawmakers wrote.
“Social media platforms offer the ability to target millions of users based upon a wealth of highly-detailed information,” they continued. “As we have seen, the low cost of reaching these users equips hostile foreign actors with a powerful new tool for disruption of our democratic process. Therefore, it is incumbent that the Commission take immediate action to preserve the integrity of our election law and our elections.”
The Facebook ads that inspired the letter were tied to fake (“bot”) accounts — possibly Russian — and did not specifically mention either American presidential candidate by name.
“Facebook said Wednesday it found that more than 5,000 ads, costing more than $150,000, had been placed on its network between June 2015 and May 2017 from “inauthentic accounts” and Pages, likely from Russia.
The ads didn’t directly mention the election or the candidates, according to a blog post by Facebook’s chief security officer Alex Stamos, but focused on “amplifying divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum—touching on topics from LGBT matters to race issues to immigration to gun rights.” Facebook declined to discuss additional details about the ads.
Facebook says it had given the information to authorities investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election. “We know we have to stay vigilant to keep ahead of people who try to misuse our platform,” Stamos wrote in the post. “We believe in protecting the integrity of civic discourse, and require advertisers on our platform to follow both our policies and all applicable laws.”
But while Democrats and media outlets continue to melt down over $150,000 worth of Facebook ads — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg even released a video statement saying that the company would comply with any investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election — they forgot something important: former President Obama spent more than twice as much on efforts to prevent Benjamin Netanyahu’s re-election in 2015.
The Washington Times reported at the time:
“The State Department paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayers grants to an Israeli group that used the money to build a campaign to oust Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in last year’s Israeli parliamentary elections, a congressional investigation concluded Tuesday.
Some $350,000 was sent to OneVoice, ostensibly to support the group’s efforts to back Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement negotiations. But OneVoice used the money to build a voter database, train activists and hire a political consulting firm with ties to President Obama’s campaign — all of which set the stage for an anti-Netanyahu campaign, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations said in a bipartisan staff report.
In one stunning finding, the subcommittee said OneVoice even told the State Department’s top diplomat in Jerusalem of its plans in an email, but the official, Consul General Michael Ratney, claims never to have seen them.
He said he regularly deleted emails with large attachments — a striking violation of open-records laws for a department already reeling from former Secretary Hillary Clinton’s handling of official government records.
Kind of makes you wonder whether there’s an FEC letter being drafted by Democratic Sens. Martin Heinrich, Ron Wyden, Tom Udall, Elizabeth Warren, Maggie Hassan, Ben Cardin, Al Franken, Jack Reed, Ed Markey, Chris Van Hollen, Sherrod Brown, Cory Booker, Bob Menendez, Catherine Cortez Masto, Sheldon Whitehouse, Kamala Harris, and Democratic Reps. John Sarbanes, John Conyers, Elijah Cummings, and Derek Kilmer, doesn’t it?
Source: Conservative Daily