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Trump case expected to head to the jury today; IN food banks concerned about draft Farm Bill; NH parents, educators urge veto of anti-LGBTQ+ bills; Study shows a precipitous drop in US, global migratory fish populations.

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Actor Robert DeNiro joins Capitol Police officers to protest Donald Trump at his New York hush money trial, while both sides make closing arguments. And the Democratic party moves to make sure President Biden will be on the ballot in Ohio.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

Campaign Finance Watchdogs Support WA Disclosure Law in Meta Case

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Tuesday, August 15, 2023   

Campaign-finance watchdog groups are standing up in favor of Washington's disclosure law in court. Facebook parent company Meta has challenged the constitutionality of the state's disclosure law, which requires ad sellers to keep records of how much buyers paid and who the ad targeted. Meta has called the law burdensome on free speech and nearly impossible to comply with.

Tara Malloy, senior director for appellate litigation and strategy with Campaign Legal Center, said her organization and other election oversight groups have filed a brief weighing in favor of Washington's disclosure law.

"To discuss the huge public interest in electoral-disclosure laws like Washington and to outline the many challenges that the move to online political advertising has begun to pose for democratic discourse and voting in elections," she explained.

In 2022, Washington state filed a $25-million penalty against Meta for more than 800 violations of the campaign transparency law. The law has been on the state's books since 1972. Meta did not respond to a request for comment.

While Meta has argued the law is burdensome, there is evidence that may not be the case, Malloy said.

"The state trial court took a look at the record and said actually, you know, Meta collects all this information that it claims is so voluminous and burdensome anyway in the ordinary course of its business," she continued. "It just doesn't want to turn over the information."

Malloy added the campaign disclosure law shines a light on the basic information voters need to cast a meaningful ballot, and that it can be very hard to assess an ad when it's coming from an anonymous source.

"Time after time, we see that if voters know who is funding the ad - they know that the NRA is funding the ad as opposed to the Environmental Protection Fund - they are very, very able to better assess the credibility and biases of the speaker of the advertising," Malloy said.

Meta's challenge to the law is currently before a Washington state appeals court.


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