Jim Brunner / The Seattle Times
The fine for Meta’s violation of Washington campaign finance laws increased by $10.5 million on Friday, when a judge ordered parent company Facebook to pay federal legal fees. .
Added to the nearly $25 million fine assessed earlier this week, the total penalty in the case pursued by Attorney General Bob Ferguson will exceed $35 million.
King County Superior Court Judge Douglass North’s legal-fee order requires Meta to pay federal legal fees, plus a third of the amount due to the nature of the violations.
North Korea ordered the company to pay by wire transfer, check or money order within 30 days. The money goes to the Public Accounts Agency, which enforces the laws. campaign fund.
After a long legal battle, North Korea earlier this week imposed the maximum social media and fines allowed under federal law, finding that the company Washington’s political disclosure laws 822 times between 2019 and 2021.
The Washington law, enacted by voters in the 1972 campaign, requires sellers of political ads to disclose the names and addresses of the advertisers, including the targets of the ads and the number of views per post. Information should be provided to those who request it.
Other consumers of political media, including television and newspapers, must comply with Washington’s requirements for decades. But Meta often sold these ads without complying with the requirements.
Ferguson sued Facebook and Google in 2018 for violating the law. The companies agreed to pay a $200,000 fine and said they would stop selling political ads in Washington.
But Facebook continued to sell political ads here, without providing the required information, so Ferguson sued the company again in 2020.
Meta did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The company tried to throw out the case, saying Washington’s early law was unconstitutional and “almost unenforceable.” But the North rejected those arguments.
Ferguson this week – even before the legal fees settlement – said the sentence in the Meta case is believed to be the largest ever handed down in a money-making case in the country.
Ferguson said Wednesday that the tech giant’s job in Washington was arrogant.
“It’s not that much. Facebook argued in court to have those rules declared unconstitutional. That’s amazing. Where’s the corporate responsibility?” he said.
Meta, one of the world’s most valuable companies, reported revenue on Wednesday of nearly $28 billion in the third quarter of this year, with a monthly profit of $4.39 billion.
Materials from the Seattle Times archives were included in this report.