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Statement from John Pudner, Executive Director of Take Back Our Republic, regarding Petersen’s resignation – to effectively shut down Federal Elections Commission
“We appreciate Commissioner Matthew Petersen for his service – most importantly joining fellow Republican Lee Goodman and Caroline Hunter to cross the aisle and vote with Ellen Weintraub and Steven Walther to require Facebook to disclose who is playing for political ads,” said John Pudner, Executive Director of www.takeback.org. “This example of the FEC acting as a good traffic cop – stopping a practice that could have let Chinese or other foreign interests from copying the Russians in attempting to disrupt US elections through anonymous ads.
“Petersen’s departure, following the end of Goodman’s term, means the group charged with ruling on campaign abuses like this no longer has a quorum to rule on any matter. With the incentive of so many foreign countries to influence the 2020 elections in order to put their interest above those of Americans, I encourage President Trump to fill both the empty Democratic and Republican open seats to put a traffic cop back in place prior to the upcoming elections.”
The resignation of Federal Election Commission Vice Chairman Matthew Petersen Monday, makes Take Back Action Fund’s (TBAF) FEC victory against Facebook one of the last FEC decisions for the forseeable future. Even the rare break in the FEC’s partisan divide to side with TBAF and rule that Facebook must reveal who is paying for political ads will no longer be possible since any enforcement requires four votes, and Petersen’s departure leaves three vacancies on the six-member board. TBAF’s sister organization Take Back Our Republic (of which Pudner is Executive Director) spent months educating the public on the problems with allow anonymous political ads on Facebook, though Facebook continued to argue they should be exempt from the requirements for “Paid for by…” requirement on TV, radio, direct mail, and sign companies. See “FEC to effectively shut down” story here.
Months after losing their attempt to keep political ads anonymous, Mark Zuckerberg took credit during his Congressional testimony for the new transparency.