An NPR member station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Our signal in Bonners Ferry and Omak is seriously impaired due to weather— Learn more here.

Washington AG Files Campaign Finance Lawsuits Against Facebook, Google

File photo. Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed campaign finance lawsuits against Facebook and Google on Monday.
Tom Banse
/
Northwest News Network
File photo. Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed campaign finance lawsuits against Facebook and Google on Monday.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson is suing Facebook and Google for campaign finance violations. The lawsuits filed Monday allege the companies failed to keep records about who purchased political advertising from them.


Washington state law requires companies that sell political advertising to track who buys ads and make that information available for public inspection. The lawsuits against Facebook and Google allege they failed to comply despite accepting millions of dollars in political ads over the last decade.

Ferguson acknowledged the stakes are higher these days following evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

“I think it’s more than fair to say that that heightened concern of interference that we’re seeing nationally underscores the importance of a legal case like this,” Ferguson said. “The whole thrust of our legal action is to make sure that Google and Facebook are transparent about who specifically is paying for ads.”

In a statement, Facebook’s director of product management wrote, “Attorney General Ferguson has raised important questions and we look forward to resolving this matter with his office quickly."

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Copyright 2018 Northwest News Network

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."