A Federal Election Commission member is urging the agency to probe if Russian agents paid for Facebook ads to disseminate damaging stories about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during the election campaign, Politico reported on Tuesday.
FEC commissioner Ellen Weintraub's assertion comes as the agency is already moving to investigate a related complaint filed in December by two watchdog groups against Trump's campaign and Russia, according to Politico, and the new charges could become part of that probe.
If the probe goes forward, it would add to the array of FBI and congressional investigations on Russia's meddling in the elections already taking place.
However, Politico pointed out that the FEC does not have a reputation for quick or aggressive investigations and is generally better known for gridlock.
None of the other four commissioners responded to requests for comment, nor did the Trump campaign, according to Politico.
Weintraub, who is a Democrat, said her inclination to advocate for a probe was bolstered by an article published last week in Time Magazine, which revealed both the evidence about Russia buying Facebook ads and suggested that Moscow could have been aided by Breitbart News and Cambridge Analytica, both of which have deep ties to President Donald Trump.
Politico reported that in order for the FEC to begin issuing subpoenas or possibly making criminal referrals to the Justice Department, four commissioners need to find reason to believe a violation may have occurred, which is considered unlikely because there are currently only five members, as one of the spots is vacant.
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