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Public Citizen Submits Petition to Federal Election Commission Calling for Rulemaking on AI

Washington, D.C. – Today, Public Citizen submitted a petition requesting that the Federal Election Commission (FEC) create rules and regulations that address the anticipated onslaught of “deepfakes” in 2024 campaign advertising. The petition addresses stated reasoning provided by the FEC for declining to act on Public Citizen’s original request, and provides evidence to demonstrate that the FEC has authority on this issue. 

“Artificial intelligence poses a clear and present threat to our democracy,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. “A deceptive deep fake could swing the election results in 2024. Or a tidal wave of deepfakes could leave voters completely at a loss to determine what’s real from what’s fake, an impossible circumstance for a functioning democracy.”  

“Should the FEC fail to take immediate action on this issue, Americans will experience an unprecedented onslaught of misinformation and disinformation in the 2024 election cycle,” said Lisa Gilbert, executive vice president of Public Citizen. “All we are asking for is honesty ― a request that should be readily bipartisan.” 

“The integrity of our elections ― already imperiled by those who refuse to accept election results that are not in their favor ― will now be under constant siege from AI-generated ‘deepfakes’ in campaign ads,” said Craig Holman, Ph.D., Government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen. “What Americans will see on TV throughout the 2024 election cycle is doctored footage of candidates saying or doing things that may well be entirely fabricated.” 

Starting today, members in both chambers of Congress will circulate letters of support for the aims of the petition and join Public Citizen in asking the FEC to begin the rulemaking process.  

For more information on the petition or to speak with an expert, please contact eleach@citizen.org