June 16, 2024

“As the 2024 Presidential election quickly approaches, it is imperative that the FEC allow comment on Public Citizen’s petition for rulemaking,” the letter states.

This was Public Citizen’s second petition seeking FEC rules on AI-generated political ads, and Thursday’s vote was 6-0. In June, the commission deadlocked on the matter. The three Republican commissioners on the six-person panel voted against the request, saying the petition contained a technical omission. GOP Commissioner Allen Dickerson said the FEC does not have the power to regulate such ads and called on Congress to expand the FEC’s authority.

On Thursday, Dickerson said Public Citizen’s new petition complies with the regulations, and he voted to move the process forward. But he also said he remains unconvinced that setting such rules is within the commission’s purview.

Existing law “prohibits a person [from] fraudulently misrepresenting himself as acting for or on behalf of another candidate,” Dickerson said.

“There’s absolutely nothing special about deepfakes or generative AI, the buzzwords of the day,” he added. “It shouldn’t matter how the fraud is accomplished. Lying about someone’s private conversations, or posting a doctored document, or adding sound effects post-production, or manually airbrushing a photograph, if intended to deceive, would already violate our statute.”