An FEC bid to regulate politicking on the internet, possibly including news outlets like the Drudge Report, is being expanded to the biggest providers -- Google, Facebook and Twitter.
A key Democrat on the Federal Election Commission wants to call in the Big Three social and search platforms for a hearing on unregulated political advocacy in a move that could force a new wave of disclosure on political "communications."
"It is imperative that we update the Federal Election Commission's regulations to ensure that the American people know who is paying for the internet political communications they see," said Commissioner Ellen Weintraub in a memo to FEC Chairman Steven T. Walther, also a Democrat.
She has led a campaign to crackdown on unregulated internet political advocacy. Critics have said that the effort to could go as far as targeting news sites like Drudge, a claim she and other Democrats have flatly denied.
The new effort was sparked by reports that Russians put vague political ads on Facebook during the 2016 election.
"There can no longer reasonably be any doubt that we need to revise and modernize our internet disclaimer regulations. The need for us to act grows more compelling every day," she wrote.
She plans to make her request at a Thursday FEC meeting.
At that point, she added, she will seek Facebook, Twitter and Google to come in "and explore with us how the FEC can craft the best possible internet disclaimer rules going forward."
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org