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FEC weighing new rules for online political ads

From Bloomberg

The Federal Election Commission opened two days of hearings Wednesday to consider approaches to requiring sponsorship disclosures for online political advertising.

The agency, which oversees federal election laws, is taking testimony from 18 witnesses from public interest groups, political organizations and ad buyers as it considers multiple approaches to letting audiences know who’s sponsoring the political speech they’re seeing online.

Current FEC regulations require political committees that register with the agency and disclose their donors and spending to the commission to include disclaimers when they pay for digital communications, including everything from YouTube videos to emails. Ads from nonprofits and others that advocate for or against a candidate must include those disclaimers too. But those rules don’t apply to ads that mention political candidates critically without explicitly advocating for or against them.

“It’s important to get this right,” said Vice Chairwoman Ellen Weintraub, a Democrat, who favors greater disclosure. “It’s important to get a rule in place this year.”

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