Washington Attorney General defeats Facebook’s attempt to dismiss campaign finance lawsuit

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Attorney General Bob Ferguson

Attorney General Bob Ferguson issued the following statement Friday after King County Superior Court Judge Douglass A. North denied Facebook’s attempt to dismiss Ferguson’s campaign finance lawsuit against the multinational social media company:

“Today we defeated Facebook’s attempt to avoid its legal responsibility to Washington voters. 
"Facebook has repeatedly violated our campaign finance laws, and this is the second time we’ve taken legal action against Facebook for selling political ads without maintaining information for the public as required by Washington law. 
"Whether you’re a tech giant or a community newspaper, those who sell political ads must follow our campaign finance law. Washingtonians have a right to know who’s behind the ads seeking to influence their vote.”

In April, Ferguson filed a campaign finance lawsuit against Facebook for selling Washington state political ads without maintaining information for the public as required by Washington state campaign finance law. 

The complaint asserts that Facebook intentionally violated the state’s campaign finance disclosure law, which was first adopted by initiative in 1972 and reenacted and amended multiple times since 1976 by the Legislature.

This is the second time Ferguson has taken legal action against Facebook for similar violations of Washington’s law on political advertising. Ferguson’s June 2018 lawsuit resolved in December 2018 with Facebook paying $238,000 — a $200,000 penalty and an additional $38,000 to reimburse the state’s legal costs and fees.


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