On May 25, students in Georgetown's IPR Tech and Communications Clinic filed comments before the Federal Election Commission, addressing its proposal for whether and how to require public disclosure of paid political ads on social media.
Two students, Guiying Ji and Kamila Benzina worked on the comments on behalf of three civil rights organizations, the National Hispanic Media Coalition, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, and Color of Change. The comments supported the FEC’s efforts to update disclosure requirements, highlighting how “people of color have been the targets of malicious voter suppression efforts that take advantage of the fact that current FEC disclosure rules are obsolete.”
The FEC's rulemaking comes in the wake of Russian interference to sway the 2016 Presidential election through online advertising on social media platforms. The FEC's proposal would require disclosure of the sponsors of ads that engage in express political advocacy, solicit contributions, or are made by political committees. More than 150,000 individuals petitioned the FEC to start the process to change its rules.
IPR's client, the National Hispanic Media Coalition, has now been invited by the FEC to testify on the matter at a hearing on June 27, for which the students will help prepare.