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FEC’s ‘Summer’ Deadline on Deepfakes Rule Threatens Democracy

Washington, D.C. — Responding to our recent criticism of the FEC’s months-long failure to act on our petition to ban AI deepfakes in election ads, FEC Chairman Sean Cooksey (R) informed The Washington Post that the agency would “resolve” the question by “early summer.” 

Robert Weissman, the president of Public Citizen, issued the following statement in response:

“The FEC’s slow-walking of the political deepfake issue threatens our democracy. The schedule described by FEC Chair Cooksey means that, even if the agency decides to proceed with a rulemaking on deepfakes, it’s not likely to have a rule out in time for the 2024 election. That’s intolerable.

There’s no reason for the Federal Election Commission to stand idly by and risk fraud and fakery overwhelming election integrity. However, there’s still time for the agency to expedite its action and get a clear rule in place. It must do so.

 At the same time, the comments from the FEC Chair should sound the alarm for Congress and state legislators: You cannot count on the FEC to defend us from deepfakes. It’s up to you.”

For additional information on the work Public Citizen is doing to regulate artificial intelligence or to request an interview with one of our experts, please contact Emily Leach at eleach@citizen.org.