Armor to Protect our Democracy

The integrity of our democracy depends on expanded campaign finance laws to ensure foreign powers cannot funnel money into our elections.

April 9, 2018

Cross-posted from New York Daily News.

Like any good investigator, Robert Mueller is following the money. Recent reports suggest he is now investigating a slew of wealthy Russians and whether they illegally channeled money into Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

For decades, the United States has enforced a strict ban on foreign nationals spending money on our elections. It’s our democracy, after all. Imagine if at the end of a campaign TV spot, the usual soothing voiceover were replaced by someone telling you the ad time was bought by a foreign government.

There’s something unsettling about that idea, and yet it’s precisely what took place during the last election. Except instead of broadcast ads, it was a string of deceptive, inflammatory ads purchased on platforms like Facebook. Our campaign finance laws, which haven’t been updated since 2002, say it’s illegal to hide who paid for a TV or radio ad that mentions a candidate. But no such rules apply online.

It’s time for that to change. Despite Facebook’s assurances last week that the company will start disclosing more information about its ad buyers, Congress needs to expand our campaign finance laws to ensure foreign powers cannot funnel money into our elections. The integrity of our democracy depends on it.

Read the rest of the op-ed here.