tv Political Advertisement Hearing CSPAN October 27, 2017 6:02pm-7:54pm EDT
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place that they would've gone with their families. after this place they would been scattered all across the united states. this is ground zero for that experience here. an interview with history and william seale. >> over the front door which is carved with lilies and flowers and acorns. it is probably the finest example for a hundred years. american history tv all weekend every weekend. only on c-span three. the house oversight and reform committee looking into the
regulation of political advertising on social in traditional media. they discussed the closure roles. in the implications of russia purchasing facebook ads. this hearing is about two hours. >> the subcommittee will come to order.ubin the chair is authorized to declare recess at anytime. it's part of a series of hearings. they may have become obsolete or need updating to reflect advances. with have hearings on the international drones and many other issues. the laws and regulation governing political advertisements. they oversee several campaign finance laws and enforces
disclaimer laws. in addition the fcc enforces additional closure. some have proposed increased disclaimer and disclosure lost for the ads placed on internet platforms.s. the interplay between these two regulatory agencies and how they each apply the law is how they are uniquely situated to examine and i hope we dig into that today. ximino -- in many ways there is the subcommittee's efforts.or there is a level of urgency that cannot be understated. since the sun rose on our democratic experiment to at the series had sought to destroy what they fought for. they've always gone to use
that unique qualities to undermine the resilient democracy. but now the tools have changed. russia has attempted to influence our democratic process. every technological advancement the regulatory posture has evolved to meet the changing needs of the day. i hope to explore questions with the need to reform. as always i'm honored to be exploring these issues in a bipartisan fashion with my friend and ranking member the honorable robin kelly. it's always good to be with you i think my colleagues and witnesses in my fellow citizens who have joined us today in person or who are watching online for parts debating today. now it's my honor to recognize the ranking subcommittee member.
ms. kelly. thank you for holding this important hearing. we will examine federal laws and regulations governing political advertising just one month o after facebook revealed that the russians spent a hundred thousand dollars to buy 3,000 ads to inform of the elections. they reached 10 million americans. they're just the numbers we know of. there are likely many more ads that were purchased directly or indirectly by the russian government.r it prohibits foreign money and election but it allows them to issue ads all political ads must carry a disclaimer which is disclosed through the buyer of the ad but this requirement does not extend to digital ads like those that run on facebook. the russian government exploited these loopholes. in the 2016 elections they were able to take advantage of that. with the miss information campaign.
date micro targeted their ads and sometimes posing as community activists but the intention of turning americans against americans. they thought this way they would be with fake news. more than ten years ago. that was before the iphone have been introduced. twitter was still in development in the facebook was only for college students. in fact 35 of the 42 members of the oversight committee were not yet in congress. myself or the chairman included. much has changed in that time. our presidential candidate used twitter to wage a successful presidential campaign. this time we recognize that in today's world television and radio are not the only media carrying political ads. i'm confident that we can do that. by protecting of the the first amendment rights of americans. i was encouraged to see they recently reopened the 2011 comment time when social media
and political advertising after the russian meddling revelations. i'm still concerned. they have led to years of gridlock and action. we cannot continue waiting. they can act quickly and exploit our inability to explore the law. 64 percent of americans massaging 70% of american want payment disclosure. i cannot agree more. it is clear that americans want transparency and more accountability and social media. congress and the intelligence communitydv need to fully investigate what happened in 2016. i commend the chairman for his leadership and willingness to hold today's hearing.. they must work to ensure the integrity of our elections. recently the senators and
representatives kilmer introduced the ad. this would increase the transparency in online political advertising by requiring online advertising platforms o to disclose copies of ads in their targeted audiences. this bill is a great start. think thank you to our witnesses for being here today. t thank you mister chairman. i also ask for unanimous consent be allowed to join our subcommittee today and participate in the hearing. there is no objection. thank you ranking member kelly. with mister alan dickerson. the president and chief executive officer at news media alliance.ef mister jack goodman.
mister randall roethlisberger. the senior counsel for the center for welcome to you all in pursuant to committee rules. they will be sworn in before you testify. please rise and raise your right hand. do you swear or affirm that the testimony you are about to affirm is nothing but the truth so help you god. >> let the record reflect that they all answered in the affirmative. in order to allow time for discussion please limit your opening a testimony to five minutes in your entire written statement will be made part of the record. i appreciate the better understanding.
they were looking forr a great outline of these questions debated here today. i would suggest that you go to the oversight website to review the statements. as a reminder, the clock in front of you shows the time remaining. it will turn yellow when you 30 seconds left. and read when your time is up. mister dickerson you are up first. you are now recognized for five minutes. chairman her and the rest of the committee thank you for the invitation to appear today. the internet has transformed the ways in which we communicate with one another. it has become ubiquitous. it is everywhere we go. today a large portion of americans walk away every day carrying devices that can
instantly connect them with anyone in the world from almost anywhere. in 2014 supreme court reported data indicated that 12% of americans use their cell phone in the shower. it has allowed americans to distribute content without third-party intermediaries. they no longer need to see if an editor has accepted them.m. as judge john mccain observed when he struck the campaign finance law it must be remembered that the interview is the -- the internet is the new soapbox. the internet has made us all publishers distributors in speakers. every american has the opportunity to be whatever they want to be in one suspects that those would approve.
according as the federal election committee itself. the blessing of online speech is delicate. that does not mean as i explained in my written testimony of the online speech is a wild west without rules. m but it does mean that the current regulatory environment strikes balance. the placement of a small board issue advertisements particularly those that do not advocate for any electrical outcome will drive out the poorest and least sophisticated online speakers. they will affect not what the corporations which can afford the experts to ensure compliance but rather grassroots activists.atan moreover efforts to ship it to
online platforms will simply require those companies to pass on those cost onto the same consumers. it will create incentives to limit the small dollar ad buys in a -- the result will be an internet that is less free less open and less available to ordinary americans. the internet can have its challenges. a valid and vital concern. they cannot justify regulations where they will fall overwhelmingly on americans. it is a familiar problem. it is accomplishedm. for the counter intelligence into military readiness. campaign finance law and in particular the possibility of a fine levy as relatively little to that mix. instead the campaign finance rules will restrict access to
the internet by average americans in small groups. the first first amendment stance against those efforts. it is against the passion of the moment and a reminder that our dedication to liberty and unfettered public debate is a strength and a weakness.nd nor does technological advancement change the fundamental guarantees. the first amendment rights to free speech are not circumscribed merely because they become easier for the average american to exercise. as alwaysie when dealing with political speech the speech the supreme court has recognized our guiding principle must be restraint. thank you. i look for to the subcommittee's questions. >> you are now recognized for your opening remarks. thank you very much for asking me to participate in today's hearing.
i represent the news media alliance a nonprofit trade association representing nearly 2000 publishers across the united,0ss states our membes include some of the largest global news organizations as well as local newspapers focusing on issues that impact the daily lives of citizens in every state in congressional districts. alliance members share a common mission to inform society and an accurate, thoughtful and responsible manner. the news organizations had long made substantial investments. to achieve that message. as detailed in the american society of news editors.ai in the society of professional journalists. the very brands are built on trust with the readers.
because of this our commitment to truthful and accurate reporting has also informed her approach to advertising. publishers have long a played an important role in ensuring the integrity of the advertisements that appear next to their content. when it comes to political advertisement the legal responsibility for complying with federal election commission rules clearly falls on the advertiser. nonetheless the news publishers have taken an active role in ensuring that proper disclosures are made. and that they are placed in the publications. as technology evolves. they have o carried forward the responsibility with the internal controls that go with it. these efforts are now much more difficult because of the growth of online platforms like google and facebook. publishers previously worked to ensure the integrity of both their content in and the advertising that appeared next to it.t. but now we have less control over advertising because of delivery of ads these
challenges are largely caused by the massive growth in inability to control an exit system that was built with a specific intention of not exercising responsibility over the integrity of content or the advertising that sustain its foundation.po it is exasperated by the fact that they now control that dispersed -- distribution of monetization. they also collect most of the revenue with google and facebook receiving approximately 71 percent of all digital advertising dollars in the nancy foster which includes political advertising. these publishers have worked to respond to rapidly changing business models. my members now represent some of the most innovative and engaging digital publishers in existence and we have created these new businesses without compromising.ew it is time to google and facebook do their part as
well. and while they had profited greatly from the market power they have yet to accept the full responsibility that comes with that position.ep when it comes to pinnacle advertising they also need to make the same adjustments that the rest of the economy is making and move away from a platform specific perspective. wherever the readers wanted on desktops, in print and mobile devices and even wearables. within the bounds of the first amendment if they see the certain kinds of political speech than those rules should not be this defined. they should revisit the need for current platform specific requirements to see if they apply to our converged digital world. if congress continues to legislate by platform then technology will simply continue to outpace the rules. the alliance believes that the fac rules should be updated to
require disclosures within an internet advertisement to identify the sponsor of an ad. they should also update their ad driven business modelss and the ones that accelerate the distribution and viral messaging. so that high-quality content is elevated in search and newsfeeds. i believe these changes would lead to a healthier industry and a better informed citizenry citizen tree and a more united country.ci thank you very much for your time. mister goodman you are now recognized for five minutes. my name is jack goodman. i'm pleased to present testimony. decades of experience working with the broadcast stations. i do not appear today on behalf of any present or former client interviewses expressed are entirely my own. the broadcasters have long
been m considered a most trusted source of news far more than any otherf medium however broadcast advertising involving politics is subject to detailed regulations these regulations affect what ad stations must accept the information about sponsors they must obtain and disclosed to the publicth on the prices they charge for political ads. in my experience they take their compliance efforts very seriously. it is exceptionally helpful but even experienced e broadcasters frequently encounter questions as to which no clear answer exist. disclaimer as i will refer to it is the information that must be included in ads about theirr sponsor these are often referred to as sponsor idaho requirements. disclose or refuse -- refers to the political advertising. both the ftc and the fac had
rules governing aspects of both disclosure and disclaimer. they have sought to avoid conflicting regulations and very importantly both believe that broadcasterssta and their employees should not be required to serve as unpaid government enforcement agents for private investigators. the disclaimer role for all political advertisingis is that it might -- must include a statement saying paid for or sponsored by whoever is actually writing the check in pain for it. these limit the type of ads that they can sell. the short messages cannot be used because of disclaimer will not fit. thus they can prevent the use of some formats for political speech. turning to disclosure broadcasters and cable systems must maintain public inspection files. inspection files. -- all stations well have their files online by next
march. the station is required to disclose the candidate in the cost of the ads. the disclosure requirements for non- canada ads which include both independent expenditures relating to elections and ads about issues adds about issues of referendum are more complex. the rules require detailed disclosure for any ad that communicates alo political matter of national importance they include references into a legally call kennedy in the election to federal office or a national legislative issue a public importance.ss for example the reference to a qualified candidate intended to encompass issue ads determining what is a national legislative issue can also be challenging.
what an ad opposing the state will be subject to expanded disclosure. the requirements to issue advertisers and the issues in the ad are also difficult to enforce. some ad agencies simply refuse to provide that. they do not identify any individual or even if the station insists or given only one. they face similar problems in getting accurate information about issues in an ad. for example, if there issue ads next year opposing the reelection in virginia is there description. as each one need to be disclosed. if time is reserved in advance and the advertiser does not decide which specific issue.
in these problems even the most conscientious station has a great difficulties in detaining the information that is supposed to be in the political file. in conclusion, experience with the broadcasting roles is instructive. any new rules they need to be flexible to be adapted to new and varied speech formats. the responsibility for collection should not be placed on the media but a instead on the government agency with authority to interpret the rules and the power to impose sanctions for noncompliance. to make members of the subcommittee thank you for the honor of testifying today. c i would like to get straight to the point. throughout my 11 year tenureth advertising barrel has stood
for greater transparency in the digital advertising supply chain. regardless of whether thert ads are political or commercial because we believe transparency and disclosure are necessary for consumer safety and brand safety. we strongly support efforts by this congress and the federal election commission to clarify reconcile and strengthen the disclosure requiredco of the parties. but, as a representative of the economy's fastest-growing and most dynamic sector we also believe that our industry itself can go even further to implement supply-chain protections that would fortify the trustworthiness of digital advertising and media has a proven track record of taking and implementing responsibility across our 650 plus member companies together with multiple partner associationshe some of the media industry's strongest self
regulatory methods. they had been lauded by the white house, the congress and the trade commission. we have provided consumers more control over their personal data and digital advertising environments. for the trust where the accountability groups. we had worked closely with u.s. and overseas law enforcement bodies to root criminal activities we were warning about guarding against that traffic years before it became a washington concern. the long experience persuades us that in this industry there is a role for government regulations. but durable reform can only happen when the digital advertising community adopts tougher, tighter comprehensive controls for who is putting what on its site. since the passage the federal
election campaign act is mandated disclaimer's and all political advertising that advocates at the center of the current storm did not engage in such overt candidate support. hillary for president rather there was a sophisticated post about social and political issues some of which were made more widely available they paid to amplify them. some of the messages was not even placed for payment. all the unpaid advocacy fall outside the scope of campaign disclosure rules. their first amendment right to go on street corners and put signs on their lawn. without registering if
political committees are reporting how much they spent on megaphones or smart phones. there is one more complex challenge in extending the current disclosure rules to the internet. they require disclosure by campaign and the media running ads. in that world that media is in full control. no programming of any sort runs on that. in the digital world by t contrast every page is w cobbled together for multiple sources in assembled on the fly inside a user's internet browser. i they come together from scores server computers. the auction pricing services. the greater portion is sold industry booted by third-party technology companies which do
their work via automated systems in the industry parliament. the legislative puzzles that would require them. they create burdens on struggling media organizationsiz and would barely capture the political communication which isis placed programmatically. this is why we would like the congress to support for strengthening the self regulatory sections we arty had belts.y they police their supply chains and provide greater transparency into who is putting what on their site. we can monitor the financing to change with a conventional the conventional advertising or whether it shows up in less familiar formats. thank you for opportunity to appear before you tonight. >> good afternoon on behalf of the front and center for justice.
we appreciate the opportunity to share with you the recommendations giving the laws and regulations. particularly as they relate to the foreign powers to interfere in american elections. the nonpartisan ink tank. tank. they focus on democracy and justice working to develop and defend the constitution sound policy. there are gaping holes. in contrast much of the election spending on the internet is untouched by key regulations. they include that retirement -- requirement the ban on foreign nationals and the requirement that they retain public files for political ads. it's time for this to change. the internet well only grow in its importance to politics. the amount spent online was almost eight times higher16 than 2012.
failure to subject ads on the internet for the same disclosure regime will leave the public without key information about how and who is trying to influence them. the honest ads act introduced in the senate and in the house by representative, offers a promising framework to ensure such disclosure. they could also close other loopholes.s. like spending by dark money organizations and foreign owned corporations. these are surely needed 2tistigations into the 2016 election had revealed the effort to alter the course of public debate by injecting propaganda and divisive messages into the american political discussion. as has been mentioned that firms linked with thousands of online adslind which were seen y millions of people.
the ads had not been released to the public but they discuss political issues including messages advocating the election of candidates. all while the russians at disguised their profiles. the intelligence community is confident that they'll be back and much -- and must watch for copycats. most immediately the challenge to the america people and the first amendment values requires updating campaign finance laws for the internet age. they should include paid ads on the interneternion it requirs disclosure of expenditures above $10,000 on ads that mention candidates in the certain specified type it would expand the ban on foreign spending and would increase transparency making information about who is paying them publicly available. in addition online platforms
should be required to maintain public files. p the federal communications requirement that they maintain a public file online platforms along with other businesses. to prevent political ads from being sold. all of these elements are present. moving beyond the internet the campaign disclosure rules allow dark money organizations potentially hiring sources of funds to expend the elections. the foreign election to spending. finally these proposals as well as existing laws. the deadlock they had
increased and is passed up chances to strengthen regulations. including by making the number of commissioners on. thank you and i am i'm happy to answer any questions you have. you will be recognized for five minutes. it appears to me that a number of they individuals testified today are conflicted with the general and social ads opinion post in the political ads with playful campaign ads. as they said. there was a lot of sophisticated post. made widely available
including those outside the united states. let me just ask you mr. schaefer how we can determine what is fake news and real news. who determines that for us. who determines that if organists say organists .-dot fake news interest me you should see my facebook post. who is going to determine what is fake news and stop it. conflicting political ads is incorrect. there is a pre-existingeg regulatory ad. on the fake news front is a twofold problem. people get garbage over their newsfeeds there newsfeeds online in the same way that good information also goes.
my next question for you as a is a number of the newspapers that you represent printed a variety of articles about the upcoming tax reform and tax cut bill that is pending. they quoted a variety of sources as being the rich are going to benefit did you detail the funding sources of those groups. with regard to those pieces you know who to complain to. most of what we're talking about none of them reported any of those sources and in fact it's pending the tax brackets. if you read in newspapers inrs my community they have already eydetermined how the tax bill will work based on some bill. any tax cut is going to be bad.
so my question for you as t if are going to be fair in terms of the information that is put out. if you want to pick whatever term he wanted to do. would you not post what their biases. what i would say is you know how to complain to. the publisher and their reporters whose names are attached. that hasn't have much difference. there is a difference betweensu your response for the people you employ their opinions they put forward you know very clearly in opinion ads and columns who the writer is. your are responsible for thatre content. that is clear the differencesth on the internet they are not responsible for it. they did not write it. they did not determine who they are. if you want them held to the standard of like that.
i would not assert that. he did in your testimony. i've a minute left here. can you help me understand that given your perspective on it we are going to allow the federal government to turn what is appropriate content and social media work and have them determined determine that's a political ad. the idea is to incorporate an existing frameworkng that is already out there. it is a bright line test. the candidate mentions within a certainit timeframe about a certain spending threshold. clearly the bright light has not worked. reality is not with an awful lot of these post. they are well outside the bright line. who is going to determine that.
the bright line keeps you from having someone to do that. there are things outside the bright line. by having a bright line and having people understand that they can post if it's low it. without having decision maker having to make judgment calls every time. let me suggest internally here to other members. our first responsibility is to protect the constitution. we need to defend even if it's fake news. the idea that were not allow a group of regulators to regulate what we will be able to see. it offends me. i would certainly oppose that anyway i can. thank you mister chair. in january of this year the intelligence community
released its assessment. they ordered and influence campaign. according to the assessment and i quote the influence campaign followed the strategy that blends covert intelligence operations such as cyber activity with the overtt experts. they paid social media users or trolls. only one month ago as i said before on facebook it revealed and revealed that the company linked to the russian government bought 3,000 ants. these ads are believed to have reached 10 million people in the united states. to be clear this is just the ads that we know about and the people they had reached. there are likely to be more. mr. vander walker. our current laws and regulationss are sufficient to influences campaigns. if not why not.
unfortunately too much of the internet is left out right now. we have as i mentioned i regime that applies to political spending and mass media and at the time that that regime was enacted the important mass media recovered but now the internet is far more important than it was then is only gaining in importance. m w w it should be brought into the regime that exists so that the spending above a certain threshold should be covered. a similar requirement to disclosure for political ads under the fcc rule for broadcasters should be applied to internet ads as well. your testimony characterizes thises as a supply chain issue. what do the members of your industry that are a part of inthat supply chain need to do to prevent this. they need to participate in
both our existing programs industry wide self regulation that have been very successful we built them to give consumers disclosure and control over their privacy and data flows. to prevent fraudulent activity. i think we need much more aggressive participation in those and we would welcome congress is support for that. we can build out from those programs to create not just disclosure but i call it supplier qualification if you think about your local supermarket.
nothing goes on the shelves it going through a series of blue scape bluesky that gives everybody a bit of fish insurance we have created mechanisms that can do the same thing and i think we ought to build out those mechanisms and get more comprehensive participationti in them. besides the regulation. there is also a proliferation of fake accounts. thousands of fake accounts corrugated messages. print media still contains a so contains a large amount of advertising. whose responsibility is it in terms of political advertising.l, those are traditionally had and upheld. to develop a safe and trusting environment for its readers. most of our content is now
deliveredal digitally in the biggest thing we can do there i let people know where the o information has come from. what is the source of the information. the biggest issue from my perspective is that it comes out of nowhere people have no idea where it comes from. it's fed to them in the same way that other legitimate news is fed to them. the best thing for any platform or new source can do is be clear about where the news is coming from. and what the source of it is.s. with the print media do you feel like you wanted to find a safe and trustingik area. do you feel like they trust what they read. we have an extremely loyal and growing audience.
it's bigger than ever has been in history across all of the platforms. in the fact of the matter is people want credible information about their world and their community. they primarily come to us to get it. should the ads be held to a different standard than political ads and other media. i come back to this. we are in a platform where you get information 16 different ways which is alls good but the rules cannot be divvied up by platform. we will need to come up with several that come with the content. what he think that you can do it to do a better job helping readers distinguish between the real news and the content that comes from questionable sources are the fake news. >> there has always been crazy conspiracy theories but that's always been different from the newspaper on your driveway or what's on tv what has happened now is that it all gets put in a blender and fed to you so that the real news sources come the same way you don't want the platforms or anyone
else censoring content. you need to get the more information and much more clearly where it's coming from and that algorithms to which we are all subject to in our life need to give credit to people that actually pay reporters for real reporting. >> i would like to recognize my friend and colleague from the great state of texas. ms. kelly ask you a question and i don't think you adequately added it. are there any federal government regulations. is there anything a newspaper has to do. >> is on the advertiser and you say they should not be placing any regulations on
internet platforms as well. as long as the regulation around the advertisement itself is the same. if there are disclosure regulations. they had been consuming content in every way. without regard to the platform. is there anybody on the panel that would disagree with that. the law has long recognized the broadcasting that is different. because of the scarcity of the airways. as an exception there is a
different way that ads are placed. who is buying these ads in the disclosures. typically in the newspaper ear probably talking to a sales person or someone on the .hone. if you buy from then on an online platform is typically done online. let's say i'm boris or natosha and i had converted these into american dollars i go by a cash card visa rent a post office spot and i was gonna know i'm a foreign national. do you see that as a problem? do you see that as a problem? as i said in my testimony. it's not necessarily a popular point of view every company should note to some degree of comfort and certainty who is doing business with. that is a fundamental principle whether you are making a car orst running a grocery store. i thinkt it's not just possible but necessary to have some kind of supplier altercation
safeguards in place. let's go to the other problem that people are complaining about in social media. iu may actually had more effect in elections on twitter or facebook with bots. just posting something at no cost. they spent a hundred thousand hundred thousand dollars hiring a programmer. it's a problem in industry worldwide. dealing with bots. how do you not get legitimate people who are trying to exercise. they have just identified the absolute total not of that.
it is not unsolvable. i don't you can come up with anything that is 100% full -- foolproof. it's like a game of whack a mole. i keep coming back. nobody actually knows what a record is these days. elements of supplier qualification knowing with him you're doing business we proved that it goes a long way to reducing the traffic. juergen have to have the ability to have a social media platform to reject something. where do you draw the line with them being treated fairly.
how do we address that. first of all it's your right. you can do anything you want and prevent anybody you want from coming on. if you want to grow and l you want to create a larger business and you want to be as open as possible. yet to find a balance. i know that might come off as a little bit of that. technology systems and human oversight to determine the quality of your supply chain. how does someone know that. i could suddenlyd, weigh way that two conservative messages. it might be years before someone figures that out. the same has long existed in every other medium as well. has been political bias. you find on cable news for sure.
and you choose your technology. i see my time is expired. i now recommend the new showman. thank you very much in calling this really important hearing. you've spoken eloquently about building integrity into the supply chain which then leads the obvious question. why are we in this situation we're in. we did it very explicity. the four a's which recommended that. a very effective self-regulatory program.
if you think you're ready next time. the intelligence agency is coming back. i will give you a warning born of my older profession. back in my dark past history i covered politics for the new york times and i developed a principle back in principal back in the late '80s that we are always covering the last election. the media and the way communications happen are always out running our thoughts about what is good happen. i don't think anybody anticipated degree degree to which twitter would be a massive slope -- social influence. i think we can very much be preparedd for the bot traffic problem. but we don't know what mole is going to pop up in that game.
give made what seems obvious that internet is properly and analogized in terms of the medium and impact. andd therefore the rule that applied to communications in the tv context should also apply here. all of us are familiar with that. you have to say that we paid for this ad and we stand by this ad and all that kind of stuff. what about the problem which has been floating around since the beginning of the hearing. of the hundreds of facebook messages and bots that were put out by the russians.us they were dismayed to sow chaos. they would not fall within that. under the mccain feingold regulation. or is it as they're suggesting
we have learned our lesson. and now the public will be much more wary or should be. and the media themselves should try to be on top of this problem? >> as you know we should close the door that we know we can close i don't think that is all that can be done. the political ad database encompassed there. it involves issues of national legislative importance.. it would have researchers that would try to piece together what is coming from where. and what are the messages. i think that could be extremely valuable in understanding t what the next that next attacks are and how to respond. i think there are more things to be done outside of the well
-- realm of campaign finance. in really figuring out how to get on top of this thing. let me ask you another question. the supreme court in the decision upheld that is not covered by citizens united. if they are not a u.s. individual or corporation. foreign money could take over domestic corporations. they could be channeled through the loophole directly into the political system. is that something you can tighten up as well. definitely the regulation has not been with citizens united. the ability to spend unlimited amounts on politics they require a viewing with the problem that even the domestic corporation can be domestic by
foreign powers and that should be tightened up. one of thes ways would be as you proposed set some kind of percentage. and say about thisay even domestically in corporations they cannot spend the politics. this question as to everybody on the panel. you can elaborate.on just don't take too long if you are going to elaborate. i will start with you. for the mccain feingold and the supreme court case lake citizens united should those cover all political advertisements.
yes i think our campaign finance regime at the heart is about transfers of money designed to influence politics. whether that means buying a political ad there are different ways that they can play out in detail. >> opinion is protected. that is not just a slippery slope. what it is about with candidates and actual advocacy against the candidate then clearly that falls within those scope. you should vote for this guy or don't. and the issues saying call your congressman if this. any of those types of political speech should that
fall under these laws and supreme court cases. if you are sending the piece of mail in the mailbox. if to make certain adjustments for differences among the media. mister goodman. i agree under the precedent it doesn't matter the median the speech can be regulated under those cases. it doesn't matter 3 how you say it. with the express advocacy. you get that tremendous free-speech issue. the microphone please. i will learn that eventually. yes as regards to the platforms with a caveat. the amount of money that has been regulated as being important.t.
it doesn't change the burdens on the speaker. in that sense if we're talking apples to apples certainly. if they are coming from the great state of texas where on the only competitive district in the state. .. . ifthey were doing it on radio or television there be a public file and depending on if they were an opposing candidate
different information would be in the file. >> what law governs that? it's largely the communications act. there amendments in 2002. >> is at the same for prints? >> there's not a public file requirement. >> this is a time where congress can look and see what requirements are needed across the file. we have different requirements now. looking forward you need to say what's required of for example do need a public repository when you have the internet. where should be available on the internet. >> on that one might come to specifically a digital platform. >> are you talk about the public file? >> yes. it's hard under the law and
under first amendment history to require public file to reside with different media. it's hard to take something for the stewardship on the airways and poured it over to something is open and diverse as the internet. what i don't understand is why you can't place the requirement on the campaigns themselves. they know what and where their spending. they could create the public file that would be available across all media. >> so my first question was the government that express c-uppercase-letter should apply to all mediums, but when it comes to the public via the making sure that whatever tyson is are in timing and amount, that should only apply to broadcasters? is that what i heard? >> interesting.
>> what i was is you can apply it but you should place the burden on the campaign, [inaudible] the media not responsible for selling the ads. >> mr. dickerson, can you help me understand any first amendment issues with this notion of a public file? >> most basic is that is not costless. it's necessarily burdening speech in the sense that certain types of advertisers have to do things that others don't. we largely lived with that because the sort of speech being done on broad cast tends to be more sophisticated actors. so brazen that i should have to do it on television but somebody else shouldn't have to do it in another medium?
the someone's running against me. >> i personally would question the utility of the exercise this is that i'm not sure it's use but never going to have them need to be careful to ensure only sophisticated actors and only the speech clearly about election. >> a make sure clear. when i ask questions. now i would like to recognize the jonah from massachusetts for five minutes. >> thank you. i want to thank you and think ranking member kelly for holding the searing. it's incredibly important. i think the panel members and although ranking member kelly mentioned silly been a month since facebook said the russians
to purchase $100,000 on facebook templates election, it's been a very long time since members of congress have been asking to have an investigation on the interference of a foreign government. in this case, russia, with her democratic elections. goes back a long way this the first time, you are the first to hold a public hearing on the hacking of our election. want to thank you for that. the galway back to september 2015 on the fbi contacted the dnc to say the russians are hacking your website. the democratic national committee did not act promptly on that warning. so the hacking continue. in june 2016, it became public
the russian hacking, why the reporting period december 2016, every one of the u.s. intelligence agency heads went public and said with high confidence, this is decembe december 2016 with high confidence the russians were hacking the election. in september 2016 they came forward and said based on their positions as ranking members of the intelligence committee they had information from the hearings that the russians were hacking our elections. and again last month, facebook came out and said russia purchase 100,000 and ads and interfered with our elections.
all of that happened in today's the first day of the hearing. first public hearing were have on the infringements made on a foreign government on the united states elections. that shamefully took so long. protect about campaigns in general and limitations on campaign advertising. which repeat my request when i say repeat, in december 2016th i submitted this letter to the chairman of our committee asking him for hearing. on the russian interference with our election, no response. on april 3, 2017 a repeat of the effort again, wrote a letter to this committee said this is the oversight committee in our national election, can we please have a hearing. the response. again i thought maybe it was just me. so i asked my colleagues to join with me to a letter to jason shea fits on may 16, 2017.
can we please have a hearing on the russian interference in our election. it's very important to our democracy. they hacked the rnc and dnc, both parties. we should be bipartisan about the integrity of our election. up until today, no action. for having the hearing today political here advertising but we still haven't had a single public hearing on the russian interference in our election. ironically today did learn a political that mr. goodlad has announced the 11th hearing on the clinton investigation. to the department of justice investigation of secretary clinton. we have to get together on this stuff. i know might be painful for everyone.
i asked ms. scholz issue, testified she said she would. it be difficult but she would. so let me ask you with remaining 13 seconds. mr. randall walker, you're familiar with the honest ads act for mr. kilmer and senator mccain's out there. give me your opinion on the place. >> it is a next line framework to apply to address the problem of political spending which to close stores on four and sending it can come in and affect elections. bringing the internet into an established framework for other
mass media. >> thank you. i yield back. >> i appreciate the kind words, but i want to highlight there have been a number of hearings open and close on the house committee on intelligence. >> i haven't seen them. but this again, making sure that why were doing this in a bipartisan way. without it's my pleasure to the gentleman from the commonwealth of virginia, mr. conley for five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman. find it a remarkable moment in our democracy somebody appear to see and hear no evil when it comes to russian interference with the american election process. irrespective of who benefited, but can be a dead horse when it comes to what kind of server is used in somebody's e-mails.
i think that's indictment of the enabling and complicit behavior we have seen too much of since mr. trump was signed in as president of the united states. what could be more sacred and protecting everyone's franchise in the integrity of that process in a democracy? when it is interfered with, deliberately, strategically targeted by foreign adversary, why wouldn't we be doing everything in our power on a bipartisan basis to make sure that does not happen again. that's the context of the searing. from a legal point of view when i do a campaign ad, if i do it, and required by law at the end
have a trailer saying i paid for this, this is my campaign ad. the stand by your ad requirement in law. in a sense circumscribing my free speech, is it not? >> to some extent the courts have never questioned the ability of the government to require disclosure and with respect to part of that which is the i'm joe connolly and i paid for the sad, that at least is something you can choose to do or not to but if you don't do it you're not entitled to a discount rate. >> pointed there's precedent first circumscribing certain forms of political advertisement. >> no one has questioned those requirements to my knowledge in court. the supreme court admits cases says disclosure is largely the remedy. i think this is in the scope of
disclosure. >> so given the fact there is precedent, that's one example and there's other examples of serpentcircumscribing will be fe speech. tobacco for example, the governor makes the producer of a certain product actually add words to its advertising it does not want to, but are required by law. so no one wants to infringe the first amendment, but one of our friends earlier made it seem as if the choice were that the first amendment or deal with the problem. seems to me those are not the only two options in front of us. >> that's right. there are limits on the amount of speech of various ways and
it's important to recognize their first amendment interests on both sides. the listener has an interest in knowing his speaking so they can evaluate the message. with democratic interests in voters knowing who is piping up for a candidate. that tells you something about what that candidate stands for. holding candidates accountable for their financial support and being able to evaluate is this message about a political issue coming from an environmentalist group or oil industry. toy trust which one of those. >> do boris and natasha operating from the dosha in the outskirts of moscow trying to corrupt american democracy through digital ads, do they have the same unfettered first amendment rights than anybody else does the united states? >> no. >> they don't, why not.
>> full for reasons, constitutional rights in general are diminished and most of the very least for four nationals now within the united states. also in the democracy sphere is noted in the opinion referenced earlier we have a self-governing community. for governing ourselves that's why we have a democracy and first amendment. >> and therefore we have a right to protect ourselves. >> yes this murphy your recognize for your five minutes. >> thank you for holding the support hearing on our political advertisement disclosure laws. regardless of our affiliations we recognize that elections are
the cornerstone of our democracy. the transparency and security of elections must be protected at all costs. born efforts to undermine our election and the election of other western democracies must be taken seriously. congress needs to ensure all future elections are protected against foreign meddling. we have for today the suggestion is seen in written testimony that russian internet ad buys were too small to be considered in the first foreign influence given the amount of money spent versus other russian propaganda. would you agree that any effort to swear elections regardless of whether or not they have a
significant impact on the outcome are troubling? >> yes. we don't know the extent. we haven't seen the maximum figure. influence to american influence it is problematic. >> earlier this month, facebook stated about 10 million people, 10 million had cbs. concerning our those estimates and how does that impact the public's trust of the news media in our democratic institutions? >> it is troubling and that should not be considered an upper bound. that's where the paid ads reached the same profiles produced on paid content that reached tens of millions more.
that's a problem with not having much disclosure. we still don't know the extent of the rage. when a more information about who's trying to swear political opinions. >> it may have reached tens of millions of people. the purchase of thousands of ads of the use of russian linked accounts or bots. there are able to manipulate to spread lies, inflammatory rhetoric and other propaganda in the hopes of swing voters both in the united states and france. multiple reports on the facebook loan there are hundreds of profiles linked russian agents that spread false information regarding one of the presidential candidates as well as issues like immigration, guns and other divisive topics. the french elections there
similar efforts to spread false information. one final question. in your opinion, retaking as a body of congress the issue of foreign a filtration of our internet site seriously enough? >> there's been discussion from our perspective we value transparency which is crucial election especially now to address the foreign influence. we think or action could be taken. bills have been introduced that would help those. >> to anticipate the russians and others will continue the efforts and the ramp up to 2018? >> everything i have seen indicates that yes, they are. >> thank you. >> the gentleman from the great state of washington and a
friend, welcome to the oversight committee. year now recognize for five minutes. >> thank you. both for overseeing this important here and letting me sit in with your subcommittee. her democratic republic, the system in which we the people have become foldable to for actors who want to disrupt for government. from the reports we've read foreign actors targeted american voters of maximum impact on our elections. that's unacceptable and both parties have agreed it needs to be stopped. that's why we introduce the honest affect. we've had input from other senators.
arbel would have the rules for online advertisement similar to what's already in place for tv, radio and satellite ads. that requires disclosure of his buy and what add somewhere. that's vital to ensure transparency to from the public's right to know. it's important for to keep for money out of our politics. based on some comments made it's important to acknowledge requirement disclosure when someone purchases a radio or tv and doesn't prohibit or inhibit free-speech nor does holding those in a public file. the supreme court has recognized that commercial speech such as commercial advertisement doesn't have the same protections as a
person. appreciate the comment that applying those to internet -based advertisements should be no different than what happens with radio and tv media. i also appreciate that this bill doesn't solve all the problems we saw the last cycle but it would solve the discrete issue of the public rights to know whether foreign actors trying to purchase an ad on the internet. first, you spoke with the challenges associated with perhaps the burden of keeping the file. if the public file was on the purchaser, how could the government ensure compliance of foreign actors if we go in the direction you suggested. >> i'm not sure you could assure that the matter you put the
burden on. it will always be difficult different groups could take out the ads. it doesn't matter where the burden is placed. one of the problems i have with the honest answer is it placing the burden in no small part on smaller publishers that don't have the financial wherewithal and when they're not the ones who are responsible for placing those ads. they replied that to the largest platforms we've had 50 million unique visitors per month. so i guess i might suggest in
differentiate from the concern you just raise. what's your view on that figure. give a sense of what types of platforms would be captured at that level? >> it's hard for me to deal with the specific metrics. right now there's two social media platforms involved in that may change over time. we will lease a metric of size. i would come back if you certainly agreed with with regard to the stated purpose of equal treatment we talked about that today and how there might be value in that. we're studying the implications including the database and what kind of database is required in
this digital age. there's two clear candidates in terms of online platforms. we'll have to consider the fact that there's others in different ones in the future. >> i can answer that. it would include companies like meredith, fox, face media, basically letter newspapers and magazines that are not in a position to take on extra financial burdens. 50 million unique users in the internet world is not a lot. >> thank you mr. chairman. >> the gentleman from maryland. >> thank you for permission to participate in the hearing. thank you for taking this issue as serious as you have and i
think ranking member for her focus on this. i think glycolic from washington for his leadership on the honest ads acts. although it could be next week seems like it's coming fast various. is there anyone on the panel who thinks right now we have an adequate level of disclosure with respect to spending on political advertisements, on online platforms to be ready for the next election? does anyone think that disclosure is adequate? see anyone else, let the record show. i don't think it's adequate. i think if her going to be ready has you're saying we have to
anticipate what comes next. hard sometimes to do that i think putting a baseline machine of disclosure in place with respect to what's happening online be one thing we could do to be more ready than we are now. we will encourage our colleagues to continue to push hard for this kind of disclosure. as the hearing indicated it is not out of my expectations created in regards to the broadcast. and the public has indicated they want to see this kind of information as well. what would you say about whether advertisers should be allowed to make money from foreign election interference. how would you answer that? do you think advertisers should be able to make money on foreign interference election?
>> within reason we should be preventing foreign interference election. the logically follows from that, companies should not be able to make a prophet for the. >> i think question needs to be refocused. the issue is not whether for example somebody makes money often at, but whether an advertiser that's for is permitted to participate in your selections. that is one of the issues. if there's going to be further disclosure that needs to be addressed. online platforms like broadcasters have no forcible authority. for senator tosha say yes were u.s. citizens or we have u.s. company, either an online
platform, or newspaper they have no way to determine whether that's accurate for that's why has to be government responsibility. >> it goes to the question of what kind of expectation we should have from the advertisers. what responsibility they should carry to promote this disclosure and keep track of this. i don't think as indicated that we can rely on campaigns to enforce the standards. i don't think that's realistic. the advertisers receiving these are in a better position to do that. my not be easy out of the gate to construct these algorithms but they can construct them for just about anything else in the world. they should be able to do this to enhance disclosure. one more question. the fcc takes a lot of hits these days.
certain regards it's not functioning the way should. there are some things that's able to do well. collects information submitted by campaigns every quarter. it digests the and produces that in an accessible way so people can go there and see what's happening in terms of the campaign spending. do you have any reason to think the fcc will not be able to handle the responsibility of administering what's been in visions under the honest ads act in terms of information being collected in public files been produced, pinpointed place were public and see it. isn't that a function the fcc could undertake? >> yes. something it's good it and they
prevent the public faith both of those. certainly policies can be developed in operation was social media's of the world for good at putting things online to make it all feasible and useful. >> thank you. i recognize myself for five minutes. i want to follow up on something that was said. does a russia and russian have first amendment rights in the united states. >> russian in russia has fewer rights than they would have on the american soil. >> can the government of russia
by an ad saying come to alaska on broadcast television? >> there is no restriction which per it's a foreign government from buying an ad. there would be a restriction on them buying into what should be explicit advocacy because that's illegal under u.s. election loss. >> so the russian government if they want to buy an ad on broadcast that said, don't send weapons to ukraine. >> there are disclosure requirements but i'm no expert in that with respect to for participation u.s. media. other than that assuming they comply with the disclosure requirements there no prohibition on them speaking in the u.s. >> does the foreign agent registration act have anything to do that disclosure. >> that's what i was referring to. >> can the russians run a political advertisement in the newspaper saying don't send guns to the ukraine? >> it would night count is expressed advocacy. >> if they said call your
congressman and tell them don't support sending american guns to ukraine. >> once you get into issue advocacy out of the same questions as mr. goodman. >> can the russians run a digital and that tells you to call your congressman and tell them not to support sending american guns to the ukraine. >> i'm not an expert on the come i cannot answer that question. >> to you have an opinion on either one of those scenarios i just brought up? >> one of the things i could get at that is the political file requirement that the prohibition.
>> is there a piece of law, court case, that regulates whether the russian government combine and print, broadcast, or digital that says, call your congressman and tell them to not send guns to the ukraine. >> not that i'm aware. >> and just for the record i'm supportive of sending guns to ukraine. i just want to make that clear. >> right. mr. dickerson, your opinion. >> i'm pleased to look at the for an education act race because it is a political file. it's a law that requires any -- a very low dollar thresholds to be filed with the department of
justice, to have physical copies of the ad and have it disclosure on the front of the scene is being paid for by a foreign government. the tragedy of this conversation is that in our efforts to get at russian activity for ignoring the tool directed at foreign actors and instead try to expand laws that impact american political speech. given the scope and the fact that it could be expanded to meddle in foreign agents perform principles, that strikes me as a much mayo narrower way of buildg the political file that's being discussed. because it's being targeted at foreigners and not americans. >> i know your understanding is that this is for agents of the government, doesn't include principles the government. >> that is my understanding.
>> thank you. want to follow up on the questions was listening to the testimony of recognize what's at stake here is the integrity of liberal democracy in our century. vladimir putin and his agents understood they cannot compete with us militarily, they can't compete with us economically or politically on a fair stage because they have nothing to sell but tierney, and ss to them. but, he detected an achilles' heel in the united states which is our openness. specifically a freedom of expression on the internet. that might be the most wide-open of all of the forms and media
that we have. so he took advantage of that and everybody agrees we were caught sleeping. there are hundreds of thousands of dollars, perhaps millions spent to invade every nook and cranny of the internet to inject poison into a political process and try to gerrymander the outcome of our election. >> first of all, can we do this in reverse? for example would we be allowed to spend whatever money we wanted in saudi arabia and iran, in russia, in philippines? to the authoritarian societies allow people from liberal democracies to access the public with such ease? does anybody have an answer to
that? >> for generations we do that through the voice of america and we did that very effectively. >> what about the purchase of tv ads in saudi arabia or iran or russia? i understand there's the voice of america which clearly comes from the united states, but what about the surreptitious penetration of the public consciousness that took place in 2016 here. >> history shows us we have all played games in each other's countries with media, for generations. i'm just stating a fact. >> no doubt the u.s. government has intervened to destabilize democracy nesson chilean i ron, that's something democrats have approved standard tried to stop
her history. but perhaps we need a global understanding that giving people of every society the right for elections without covert interference by four nations. it's unlawful for any for national directly or indirectly to make a contribution or donation in connection with the federal, state, or local election. that doesn't use the language of expressed advocacy. says any contribution. would it be within the constitutional authority with congress to ban and perhaps the chairman was aeschylus, not just expressed advocacy spending by foreign nationals, but also in a
political advertising taking place during the election season. would we have to be a authority to do that on the theory they don't enjoy the first amendment rights of the american people are indeed with permanent residence of the country people were here in our part of the country. does anybody have an opinion on that? >> i think the problem is less a matter of the first amendment and the supreme court in buckley said per se that actors cannot do process detour was a wasn't covered. >> with john the line between expressed advocacy and political advocacy. we have two separate categories and campaign laws apply on one side but not the other. perhaps they could apply on both sides for these entities and
governments that decide to get involved in our elections. >> i think were already there. >> but we want to go beyond to all political spending during our campaign. turns out the russian government that itself without right activities and apocalypse matters. it was during a thing possible to exasperate tensions in our country. >> i would think the department of -- what these on this. frankly congress has a bad track record. >> and they have the right to speak voluntarily or freely through public platforms further announced the right to do a
facebook page. boy talk about the expenditure money in the political system, gets to be dangerous. you cannot rerun an election. one contaminated election take the country down a very dark road. >> i recognize myself another five minutes. this questions -- will start mr. how much does a custom of to host website? >> you can do for under $20 a month. >> would you agree with that? >> i familiar with wordpress? pgh so, shows that cost? >> right now, i don't know, i think you can go up there might be a free option. >> i believe there is a free option. when people do advertising on a digital platform, they fill out
a form and upload a copy, that form gets stored somewhere in the gets pushed out. >> essentially. >> so there's no electronic record of it? >> i cannot speak to that. >> could there be an electronic record? >> i mentioned, yes. >> could be exported by the google document or excel sheet? >> yes and if you already own to website with google. >> was a question? >> if you already own a website, how much does it cost to publish a google sheet or excel document to that website? >> if i have to pay wordpress site you can upload that simply. >> zero cost, right? so, i'm curious, would you
disagree with any of those are agree with what his comments were? >> yes. >> some curious to know what burden were putting on someone to publish information of who is advertising? >> first of all, the ads going on my wordpress blog if i've enabled it to take advertising are not being bought, or not being sold by me directly have nothing to do with it it's all automated. >> so what is the burden were putting on the person his displaying that at. >> one of my concerns with me the honest ads actives worded, it would put the burden on me to keep the records even though i
have no involvement in the sale or distribution of that. >> it's hard to address everyone. i get that. but are they expunging that information #the people collecting the advertising dollars on what's being promoted? >> presumably they have it. but you're asking me to keep the records. i don't have those records. >> so the person who has or what burden would it be? >> i don't know. it depends on who they are and where they are in the system. >> there's two questions, one is who is paying for the that's what broadcasters already do. there's complaint that if their citizens for good government. >> and the broadcaster goes back
i get that. >> i'm not asking for enforcement, masking for what burden is there to publish the data. >> the information is uploaded to websites from by the fcc and proved not to be a significant burden to most tv stations. >> i would note in the website example, the website viewed by you would have some ads. if i viewed it they might have totally different ads programmatically by the attacks. you also take into account volume. also the programmatic systems have no human touch related to them. the volume of ads in deciding. >> is at the same amount of
effort to publish it in line excel document as it is to publish a 10 million line? i know the answer. same level of effort. because you're not collecting it. so, to display it there is no difference in displaying ten lines versus 1 million. >> now, you may have to pay for the size of the file, but i keep hearing over and over, the burden to publish data that is already in hands. you already have it. what's the burden? it's where you're placing the burden. is collecting it? >> that depends on how you write the requirements. >> to have an opinion in this
exchange? >> no. i'm excited to hear the answer. parting wisdom. i don't have time left but will extend that to you. but for ten seconds what is it that you wish this committee would know about this topic they haven't been able to address? >> i think the committee got our perspective. >> i think industry, self-regulation managed industrywide with tough entitled forstmann can go further than congress can go in enforcing the rules. >> whatever you do needs to be clear so the rules are understandable and responsibility for enforcement is well-established.
>> let's take a moment to talk about what rules about political advertising makes sense. that let's say what really make sense of what we need. >> the courts have allowed us to establish disclosure requirements and record keeping burdens only in so far as the underlying speeches directed at election. to the extent were toying with foreign intervention as an excuse to under the burden were waiting into territory far less charted. >> i want to thank you for being here today and appearing before us. the record will remain open for two weeks. there's no further business, without objection we stand adjourned.