CoPIRG Applauds Congressman Coffman’s Sponsorship of Bipartisan Honest Ads Act

Media Contacts

H.R. 4077 Extends Discloser of Paid Ads to Online Platforms


CoPIRG Director Danny Katz applauds Colorado Representative Mike Coffman (R) for introducing H.R. 4077, the bipartisan Honest Ads Act, along with Washington Representative Derek Kilmer (D). The Senate has introduced a companion bill sponsored by Senators Mark Warner (D), Amy Klobuchar (D), and John McCain (R).

“Coloradans should know who’s behind the ads they get bombarded with every election – it’s critical to democracy,” said Danny Katz, CoPIRG Director. “The current divide between what needs to be disclosed in ads on traditional media and online platforms is outdated, and it has kept voters in the dark about communications that are intended to influence our vote. This legislation is a strong step to ensure transparency in our elections, and to rebuild faith in our political process.” 

“For decades, those who have tried to influence voters by spending millions on political ads that Coloradans read in newspapers or see on TV, have had to provide basic information about who they are – online ads have not had the same rules. But times have changed and more and more political ads have been directed through online platforms like Google and Facebook. It’s time we bring our disclosure requirements into the 21st century and recognize that online ads should be subject to basic disclosure requirements. The Honest Ads Act is an important step toward this goal,” continued Katz.

“Congressman Coffman is right when he says that Coloradans and all Americans deserve to know who’s paying for the ads they see on the internet just as much as the ads they see in newspapers and on TV. Disclosing who’s behind ads is common sense and we call for the entire Colorado delegation to join him in support of the Honest Ads Act,” concluded Katz.

There are two main components to the Honest Ads Act. The first is to require the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to regulate online political ads similar to how political ads are regulated for newspaper, radio and television. This would include requiring online platforms to collect information from political advertisers including the rates charged and the audiences targeted. The second component would require online platforms to take measures to foreign nationals are not purchasing advertisements to influence American elections. 
For the text of the bill, go here