AG Ferguson says the company agreed to pay $100,000 for failing to maintain records related to ads that ran from 2012 through 2019.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Editor’s note: The above video aired at an earlier date.

Twitter is the latest social media giant to pay for violations of Washington state’s campaign finance disclosure rules. 

Attorney General Bob Ferguson says the company agreed to pay $100,000 for failing to maintain records related to ads that ran from 2012 through 2019, when Twitter banned political advertising. 

Companies are required to maintain records about who paid for ads, when they ran, how much they cost, and the name of the candidate or measure supported or opposed. 

Facebook and Google have also agreed to settlements of $200,000 each, though Ferguson filed a second lawsuit against Facebook in April.

The law requires commercial advertisers to maintain the following information regarding ads they sell so that the information is available for public inspection:

  • The name of the candidate or measure supported or opposed;
  • The dates the advertiser provided the service;
  • The name and address of the person who sponsored the advertising; and
  • The total cost of the advertising, who paid for it (which may be different than the sponsor) and what method of payment they used.

The state sued Facebook again for selling political ads without disclosing all necessary information about who’s behind them. 

Attorney General Bob Ferguson first sued Facebook over the issue in 2018, with the company agreeing to a $238,00 settlement. 

Rather than comply with all of the disclosure requirements of Washington campaign finance law, Facebook said it would no longer sell political ads in Washington state.

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Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island used the time allotted to him for questioning of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett to make an expansive argument about conservatives’ activist efforts to influence the judiciary.

Without asking Barrett a single question, Whitehouse laid out what he said was a strategy by small group of influential conservatives to cement control of the federal judiciary. He displayed a series of charts drawing connections between organizations that promote the careers of favored judges and also write amicus briefs supporting conservative causes that appear before those same judges.

“This, more and more, looks like it’s not three schemes, but it’s one scheme. With the same funders selecting judges, funding campaigns for the judges, and then showing up in court in these orchestrated amicus flotillas to tell the judges what to do,” Whitehouse said.

Whitehouse also rebutted claims from Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee that Barrett’s nomination was unrelated to the Affordable Care Act case set to be heard on the Supreme Court later this year.

“Don’t act as if we’re making this stuff up,” Whitehouse said. “This is what President Trump said. This is what your party platform says. Reverse the Obamacare cases. Senator after senator, including many in this committee, filed briefs saying that the Affordable Care Act should be thrown out by courts. Why is it surprising for us to be concerned that you want this nominee to do what you want nominees to do?”

It’s an argument that Whitehouse has made before. Last month, for example, he called the situation “a problem of court capture.”

“This has been the product of a very orchestrated scheme to control who gets nominated, to provide funding, to provide political cover, to run certain cases before the Supreme Court,” he said then. “The big donors

Twitter must pay $100,000 to Washington state for campaign finance violations.

Twitter received nearly $200,000 for hosting campaign ads between 2012 and 2019 but did not disclose that information to Washington’s Public Disclosure Transparency Account in violation of state laws.

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“Transparency in political advertising is critical to a free and informed electorate,” Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said in a Tuesday statement. “Whether you are a local newspaper or a multinational social media platform, you must follow our campaign finance laws.”

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The social media platform banned political advertisements on the site in November of last year.

“This resolution is reflective of our commitment to transparency and accountability,” a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement to FOX Business. “We’ll continue working to uphold our commitment to transparency and to protect the health of the online public conversation, especially ahead of the 2020 U.S. Election.”

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An independent researcher in communication with the state Public Disclosure Commission requested records for ads for 12 campaigns between 2012 and 2019 from Twitter but did not hear back for two months, according to a press release.

“The people of Washington, in their overwhelming vote for the disclosure Initiative 276 nearly a half-century ago, created one of the nation’s most emphatic demands for transparency and accountability in campaign finance reporting,” Public Disclosure Commission Chair David Ammons said in a statement.

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Twitter will pay $100,000 to Washington after the social media platform failed to maintain public inspection records of nearly $200,000 paid to it for political ads in violation of state law, state Attorney General Bob Ferguson (D) says.



a close up of a computer: Twitter to pay $100,000 to Washington for violating state's campaign finance laws


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Twitter to pay $100,000 to Washington for violating state’s campaign finance laws

The judgement filed Tuesday in King County Superior Court asserts that since 2012, Twitter has failed to maintain records from at least 38 Washington candidates and committees that bought ads.

Washington’s campaign finance law requires political advertisers to retain records related to political ads.

“Transparency in political advertising is critical to a free and informed electorate,” Ferguson said in a statement. “Whether you’re a local newspaper or a multinational social media platform, you must follow our campaign finance laws.”

A Twitter spokesperson said the resolution with Washington is “reflective of our commitment to transparency and accountability,” noting the company’s decision to ban all political advertising starting in November 2019.

“We’ll continue working to uphold our commitment to transparency and to protect the health of the online public conversation, especially ahead of the 2020 U.S. Election,” the spokesperson added.

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The state’s suit against Twitter is one of several Ferguson has sought against tech giants over political advertising.

The attorney general in December of 2018 said Google and Facebook would each pay more than $200,000 to resolve lawsuits over their failure to maintain information about political ads on their platforms since 2013.

Ferguson said in April he launched a second lawsuit against Facebook for allegedly selling Washington state political ads without maintaining legally required information, alleging that its violations were intentional.

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(Reuters) – Twitter Inc has to pay $100,000 to Washington state’s Public Disclosure Transparency Account for multiple political campaign finance violations, the state’s Attorney General Bob Ferguson said on Tuesday.



File photo of the Twitter logo displayed on a screen on the floor of the NYSE


© Reuters/Brendan McDermid
File photo of the Twitter logo displayed on a screen on the floor of the NYSE

Twitter received nearly $200,000 for campaign ads from 2012 through 2019 but failed to follow Washington state disclosure laws, the attorney general’s office said in a statement. (https://bit.ly/3nOaSkz)

The company failed to maintain the required records for at least 38 Washington candidates and committees that reported paying $194,550 for political advertising on Twitter’s platform since 2012, according to papers filed at the King County Superior Court.

“Transparency in political advertising is critical to a free and informed electorate,” Ferguson said. “Whether you are a local newspaper or a multinational social media platform, you must follow our campaign finance laws.”

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Tiyashi Datta in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M. and Krishna Chandra Eluri)

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