Hawley, Klobuchar, Coons, Collins Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Ban the Use of Materially Deceptive AI-Generated Content in Elections

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) – Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law – joined Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), and Susan Collins (R-Maine) to introduce the Protect Elections from Deceptive AI Act, a bipartisan bill to ban the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to generate materially deceptive content falsely depicting federal candidates in political ads to influence federal elections.

“We must protect the right of Americans to vote without being controlled or manipulated by artificial intelligence companies. Elections belong to the people, not the tech companies,” said Senator Hawley.

This bill would amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (FECA) to prohibit the distribution of materially deceptive AI-generated audio, images, or video relating to federal candidates in political ads or certain issue ads to influence a federal election or fundraise. The bill allows federal candidates targeted by this materially deceptive content to have content taken down and enables them to seek damages in federal court. This ban extends to a person, political committee, or other entity that distributes materially deceptive content intended to influence an election or raise money fraudulently. Consistent with the First Amendment, the bill has exceptions for parody, satire, and the use of AI-generated content in news broadcasts.

“Right now, we’re seeing AI used as a tool to influence our democracy. We need rules of the road in place to stop the use of fraudulent AI-generated content in campaign ads. Voters deserve nothing less than full transparency,” said Senator Klobuchar. “This commonsense, bipartisan legislation would update our laws to prohibit these deceptive ads from being used to mislead voters no matter what party they belong to.”

“American democracy faces novel threats from deceptive content generated by artificial intelligence, and we must take action to defend our system of free and fair elections. That is why I’m proud to have worked across the aisle to introduce legislation to safeguard federal elections by restricting the use of AI-generated content. I urge my Senate colleagues to swiftly pass this bill and to protect our electoral system from the risks posed by unregulated AI,” said Senator Coons.

“This bipartisan legislation would help to strengthen the integrity of our elections while also protecting First Amendment rights,” said Senator Collins.

Read the full bill text here.