Testimonies & comments

Issue One calls on the FEC to prevent the use of deceptive generative AI in political campaign ads

Today, Issue One submitted a public comment to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) urging the agency to clarify regulatory rules to prevent the use of deceptive generative artificial intelligence (AI) in political campaign ads.

“The threat that AI poses to the integrity of our national security and our democratic elections has increasingly come into focus, and the FEC has both the duty and authority to act to safeguard our election system,” Issue One’s Legislative Director Gideon Cohn-Postar writes in the public comment.

“The deceptive use of generative AI in political campaigns is not a future possibility, it is a present reality,” Cohn-Postar continues. “Decisive action on the use of deepfakes in political ad campaigns is a necessary first step to set a federal precedent on the management of harmful AI.”

In August, the FEC unanimously decided to advance a petition from Public Citizen requesting a rulemaking to address the use of “deepfakes” in 2024 campaign advertising. Last month, Issue One partnered with Public Citizen to host a virtual event that brought together a bipartisan group of congressional leaders and election officials to discuss the threats posed by generative AI to our democracy. Speakers included Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), who recently introduced bipartisan legislation that would ban deceptive AI-generated content in political ads, Rep.  Ken Buck (R-CO), U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) Commissioner Thomas Hicks, Faces of Democracy member and Supervisor of Elections in Marion County, Florida, Wesley Wilcox, and others.

The comment period ends today, October 16, and the FEC will now decide whether it will develop rules governing the use of generative AI in campaign ads.

Issue One’s new comment concludes with a clear call to action: “The FEC is charged with the critical role of administering and enforcing campaign finance laws. The use of generative AI in paid campaign advertisements now poses an existential threat to the integrity of American elections as a whole. This rulemaking is a focused, statutorily valid, and necessary intervention. While the adoption of this petition will not end the generative AI threat to our elections, it will narrow the avenues of attack that bad actors can use to introduce deepfakes and false information into our campaigns. We therefore strongly encourage the Commission to accept the petition for rulemaking and clarify that the ‘fraudulent misrepresentation’ provision covers content created by generative AI.”

Read the full public comment.