Texas Ethics Commission Mandates Disclosure for Political Payments by Social Media Influencers

Texas Ethics Commission Mandates Disclosure for Political Payments by Social Media Influencers

Campaign spending on social media and influencers is now being heavily reviewed. When you see a political advertisement on television or in the newspaper, you know it was funded by someone. But how about your internet feed?

This week, the Texas Ethics Commission agreed to force social media personalities to disclose when they get payment to publish or repost political advertisements.

Daron Shaw, a Distinguished Teaching Professor, and Frank C. Erwin, Jr., Chair of State Politics at the University of Texas at Austin, will join KBTX to discuss the topic.

He claims the necessity is to close a loophole that social media left in the political sector for elections.
“The important distinction is one that originated in federal election campaigns but has a state-level applicability, which is known as an in-kind contribution.

If I do a service for you, and you are a candidate for office, it is considered an in-kind gift to your campaign. But those laws have not been established or updated, so how do we conceive about an influencer who is paid to say, ‘Hey, go to this guy’s event, it’s occurring in Austin next weekend, it’s going to be wonderful, it’s going to be lit, it’s going to be so awesome.’

If you pay that person to accomplish that, they are essentially providing you with a service in the form of an in-kind gift. So what TEC is attempting to do here is to solve what I believe is becoming more recognized as a gap in state-wide political funding regulations,” said Shaw.

View the complete interview in the video above.

According to kbtx, campaign finance law is constantly evolving, and there are two opposing viewpoints on this topic in the current public policy debate.

“There are others who believe that we need much more regulation, that we should actually limit and regulate the presence of money in politics. Other individuals feel money will find its way into politics, and what is crucial is disclosure, releasing information about these linkages, who is paying what, and making that available to the public so that people can make an informed decision,” said Shaw.

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