A Democratic member of the Federal Election Commission wants the agency to investigate whether Russian agents purchased Facebook ads to disseminate harmful stories about Hillary Clinton before the 2016 election.
"I think there is potential there for finding a violation, but I don't want to suggest that I have prejudged anything that could potentially come before me," FEC Commissioner Ellen Weintraub told Politico.
The Democrat is urging the agency to look into whether Russian agents bought ads on Facebook to promote stories that could damage Clinton. Time Magazine reported intelligence officials uncovered instances of Russian agents purchasing ads on Facebook to share election-related stories.
Facebook said it doesn't have evidence that happened, and it's unclear how the FEC would apply the law.
Under federal election laws, foreign nationals, including foreign governments, are prohibited from spending money to influence federal elections.
"If there are U.S. citizens involved in any way in spending foreign money to influence a U.S. election, then that would be something that we could and should pursue," Weintraub said.
The FEC is already moving to investigate a complaint filed by two watchdog groups in December, according to Politico. The groups called on the agency to look into whether the Russian government spent money to influence the 2016 election and assist Trump's candidacy.
If the investigation related to the complaint continues, FEC staff could include revelations about Russian agents paying for Facebook ads.
The election agency can issue subpoenas and even make criminal referrals to the Department of Justice if four of the five commissioners — there is currently one vacancy — believe there was a violation of federal election laws.
The potential investigation from the FEC is the latest targeting Trump and his campaign. The FBI and multiple congressional committees are currently investigating whether the president's associates had ties to the Kremlin, and the extent of the Russian government's meddling in the 2016 election.