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Slotkin introduces bill to keep foreign interests out of campaign ads

April 5, 2019
Elissa Slotkin talks to the audience during Michigan Congressional candidate Elissa Slotkin's watch party on Nov. 6, 2018 at the Deer Lake Athletic Club in Clarkston.
Elissa Slotkin talks to the audience during Michigan Congressional candidate Elissa Slotkin's watch party on Nov. 6, 2018 at the Deer Lake Athletic Club in Clarkston. —
Photo by Sylvia Jarrus | The State News

Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., is pushing hard to remove foreign interests from U.S. elections.

Slotkin and Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., introduced a bill that would close loopholes allowing foreign entities to purchase campaign ads on social media and television.

The “PAID AD Act,” follows Slotkin’s amendment to H.R. 1 — a bill following House Democrats' promise to end Citizen’s United, among other concerns — that does virtually the same thing.

News of a Senate-revised version of the PAID AD Act is expected in coming weeks.

“I'm proud to introduce the bipartisan PAID AD Act, which would make it illegal for foreign entities to purchase ads on TV or social media to influence our elections,” Slotkin said in a press release.

Foreign nationals or interest groups cannot directly contribute to U.S. election campaigns, but are able to monetarily supporting candidates through social media and television ads.

“Stopping foreign entities from influencing U.S. elections is not a partisan issue,” Slotkin said. “As a former CIA analyst and Pentagon official, I believe it's an issue of national security and preserving our democracy, and I'm proud to join my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in introducing this bill.”

Slotkin has brought up her intelligence experience before in talking about this issue. She said her stance was a response to Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election at a recent public forum.

According to the press release, the bill would “prohibit foreign governments, foreign nationals and foreign corporations from buying a campaign ad on television, radio, or the internet that promotes, supports, attacks or opposes a candidate."

Foreign governments would be banned from buying campaign ads that discuss a "national legislative issue" during an election year with the goal of influencing an election.

It would also extend the ban on electioneering communications to “paid internet or paid digital communications.” The ban currently applies only to broadcast and cable ads, although most Russian spending on ads in 2016 was through digital media.

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