Originally posted at Washington Examiner
In a major shift, Republicans on the Federal Election Commission plan to join Democrats Thursday in calling for new Internet regulations on paid digital political ads.
In a statement issued late Wednesday, the three GOP members cited the “thousands of comments” from the public calling for new disclosure rules in light of concerns Russian activists used Internet posts on Facebook to try to influence the 2016 presidential elections.
They called for a public hearing before any changes would take place.
The support for new disclosure on paid political communications on the Internet fell short of more liberal calls for regulation on non-paid ads and political communications posted on websites like Facebook and Twitter.
Still, it is a victory for Democratic Commissioner Ellen Weintraub who has been pushing for regulations. She issued a note Wednesday saying that she would introduce a new regulation at Thursday’s meeting. In a separate note, FEC Chairman Steven T. Walther said he would move on the issue Thursday and called on Congress to consider new Internet laws.
Former FEC Chairwoman Ann Ravel, who has pushed for sweeping regulations, even on news sites, was unimpressed with the GOP move, tweeting, “This is solely to put disclaimers on the ads. It is not a particularly robust response to the problem of foreign money paying for campaign messages.”