Google stops running state, local election ads in response to new law

Google says it has stopped all state and local election ads running in Washington State in response to a new law as well as a lawsuit from the state attorney general.

On Monday, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced he is suing Google and Facebook, saying the companies failed to maintain information about political advertising as required by state law.

The new law signed by Governor Jay Inslee in March takes effect Thursday.

It was put into place after transparency became an issue with the last election cycle and news of Russian meddling in 2016.

According to the lawsuits, Washington law requires the companies to maintain information about buyers of political ads, the cost, how they pay for it, and the candidate or ballot measure at issue. That information must be available to the public upon request.

Ferguson says neither Facebook nor Google kept all those records or made them public, even though Washington candidates and political committees have spent nearly $5 million to advertise on those platforms in the past decade.

The decision from Google to stop the election ads came late Wednesday.  Google says it wants to comply with the law, but its systems aren't prepared to do so.

Google has not said when it will bring back its ads.

KIRO 7 is reaching out to political campaigns to see how this could impact them, especially with midterm elections coming up in the fall.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.