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Democratic senators want to know who’s paying for online ads

Author: Joey Bunch - November 14, 2017 - Updated: November 14, 2017

Michael BennetU.S. Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado. (Photo by Rebecca Blackwell/AP file photo)

Just to remind people how Donald Trump appears to have gotten to the White House, 15 Democratic senators the Federal Elections Commission to unmask who pays for online ads. Colorado’s Sen. Michael Bennet, you bet, is in the mix.

They cited Russian operatives who bought ads on Facebook, Twitter and Google to support Trump over Hillary Clinton last year.

The senators want the same disclosures you find on radio and TV ads.

“Over the past year, our country has come to realize the ease with which foreign actors can interfere in our elections, undermining the integrity of – and reducing public confidence in – the electoral process,” the letter states. “As part of a wide-ranging interference campaign during the 2016 election, Russian operatives used advertisements on social media platforms to sow division and discord, distorting public discourse and coarsening our political debate. The actions undertaken by Russia should not be considered an anomaly; they will be the norm in future elections if we do not take immediate action to improve the transparency and security of our election process.”

“We believe the FEC can and should take immediate and decisive action to ensure parity between ads seen on the internet and those on television and radio,” the senators continued. “The FEC must close loopholes that have allowed foreign adversaries to sow discord and misinform the American electorate…Failure to act threatens the very foundation of our democracy.”

Bennet’s office cited his past work on election transparency: “Je has urged the Government Accountability Office to investigate the Presidential Advisory Committee on Election Integrity, introduced a constitutional amendment to fix the campaign finance system, and written a letter calling on the FEC to make campaign related spending more transparent.”

Bennet was joined by Sens. Mark Warner of Virginia, Amy Klobuchar and Al Fraken of Minnesota, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Dianne Feinstein of California, Tim Kaine of Virginia, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Bill Nelson of Florida, Jack Reed of Rhode Island and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland.

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch is the senior political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has a 31-year career in journalism, including the last 15 in Colorado. He was part of the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 and is a two-time Pulitzer finalist. His resume includes covering high school sports, the environment, the casino industry and civil rights in the South, as well as a short stint at CNN.