Washington Attorney General Sues Facebook and Google Over Campaign Finance Violations
Washington attorney general Bob Ferguson announced that his office filed two lawsuits this week against the two tech giants, alleging they failed to maintain records on entities that have purchased political ads on their platforms, violating state campaign finance laws.
Additionally, under the state’s campaign finance laws, advertisers are required to disclose information on who purchased political advertisements to the public.
Some of the information that Washington state campaign finance laws requires advertisers to keep on political advertising include the name and address of the person who sponsored the ad, the total costs of the ad campaigns, and when they were purchased.
The Washington Attorney General’s office said that over the past decade, “Washington candidates and political committees reported about $3.4 million in payments to Facebook and $1.5 million to Google related to advertising.”
“Washington’s political advertising disclosure laws apply to everyone, whether you are a small-town newspaper or a large corporation,” Ferguson said in a statement. “Washingtonians have a right to know who’s paying for the political advertising they see.”
The Washington Attorney General’s office also cited the work of Seattle newspaper The Stranger in both of its complaints against Facebook and Google, claiming that both companies did not disclose the relevant campaign finance information to an editor with the paper, even though they were legally required to do so.
A Google (GOOG) spokesperson told Fortune in an email that the company is reviewing the lawsuit.
“We are committed to transparency and disclosure in political advertising,” the spokesperson said. “We are currently reviewing the complaint and will be engaging with the Attorney General’s office.”
Get Data Sheet, Fortune’s technology newsletter.
A Facebook (FB) spokesperson told Fortune that “Attorney General Ferguson has raised important questions and we look forward to resolving this matter with his office quickly.”
The spokesperson also cited Facebook’s recent tools, like a public database on political ads purchased on Facebook, as “a new standard for transparency in digital advertising.”
“We are eager to hear people’s feedback as they use these features and will continue to explore how to build upon them to ensure people know who is behind the political ads they see on Facebook,” the spokesperson said in an email.