Livingston County’s voice in Congress has introduced a new bipartisan bill that seeks to close loopholes that allow foreign interests and governments to purchase advertising that could influence U.S. elections.

The bill was introduced Wednesday by 8th District Democrat Elissa Slotkin of Holly and New York Republican Elise Stefanik. Called the Preventing Adversaries Internationally from Disbursing Advertising Dollars Act, or the PAID AD Act, it comes less than two weeks after the conclusion of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the 2016 election, which clearly determined that Russia interfered in the election, particularly through social media ads targeted to states including Michigan. “Stopping foreign entities from influencing U.S. elections is not a partisan issue. As a former CIA analyst and Pentagon official, I believe it's an issue of national security and preserving our democracy, and I'm proud to join my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in introducing this bill,” Slotkin said.

While current law prohibits foreign entities from contributing directly to campaigns, they are still legally allowed to purchase ads supporting or opposing a candidate on social media up until Election Day and on television up to 60 days before a general election or 30 days before a primary election. The PAID AD Act would close those loopholes by, among other things, prohibit foreign entities from buying a campaign ad on television, radio, or the internet that promotes, supports, attacks, or opposes a candidate for federal office.

The measure is similar to an amendment by Slotkin that was adopted last month as part of the House Democrats' campaign finance reform package. Slotkin says she is working with Senate colleagues on a companion version of the bill to be introduced in the coming weeks. (JK)