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Bloggers Narrowly Avoid Regulatory Crackdown

The Federal Election Commission held hearings on their proposed rules for the application of campaign finance rules to blogs and websites. Even with the rules currently being discussed group sites like Wizbang, The Volokh Conspiracy, and thousands of others might not be exempt. Incorporated sites like DailyKos, Gawker Media, RedState, RawStory, etc. would have to qualify for a government cleared media exemption on case-by-case basis. Mike Krempasky attended the hearings today and has a list of important issues still not resolved (here and here).

But wait... That's not the big news.

Just a few weeks ago FEC Commissioner Bradley Smith sounded the alarm bells that bloggers and new media sites were in danger, and he was roundly derided by fellow commissioners and Senators as an alarmist or just plain wrong. It turns out that government officials of both parties who were denying that they were going to be regulating individual bloggers were, all the while, drafting rules to do just that.

RedState got an exclusive copy of the first draft of the proposed rules - NOT THE ONES RELEASED EARLIER THIS WEEK. CNET reports on the content:

According to the March 10 document, political Web sites would be regulated by default unless they were password-protected and read by fewer than 500 people in a 30-day period. Many of those Web sites would have been required to post government-mandated notices or risk violating campaign finance laws.
Nothing to worry about my ass! The blogoshpere owes Commissioner Smith a serious debt of gratitude! You can leave comments for him here and I'll forward them along to him.

RedState has the secret first draft document available for download. As they note, "Without the public outcry, what sort of rule would have been released yesterday? This heinous draft, mind you - is only two weeks old."

The only way to ensure complete freedom online is to keep up the pressure, since the FEC (to their credit) is listening. The Online Coalition will keep the pressure on the FEC. Join over 3,100 of your fellow bloggers in signing our letter to FEC Chairman Thomas online, and let your voice be heard.


TrackBack

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Bloggers Narrowly Avoid Regulatory Crackdown:

» Outside The Beltway linked with FEC to Regulate Bloggers, Redux

» ThoughtsOnline linked with Should bloggers get a free pass from the FEC?

» L'Ombre de l'Olivier linked with The FEC, the World and the Internet

» AlphaPatriot linked with FEC Proposal Not so Tame

» La Shawn Barber's Corner linked with FEC v. The Loud and Unruly

» Scared Monkeys linked with Bloggers Beware

» In the Agora linked with FEC Intrusion

» Air Force Voices linked with Pewgate

» Rip & Read Blogger Podcast linked with Rip & Read Blogger Podcast for 2005-03-25

Comments (7)

Somehow, this relates to <a... (Below threshold)

Somehow, this relates to the previous post.

Already done, Kevin, a week... (Below threshold)
firstbrokenangel:

Already done, Kevin, a week ago.


Cindy

The way to deal with govern... (Below threshold)
John S.:

The way to deal with government bureacracies is to bury them. The web needs to mobilize and get 1 MILLION individual comments filed. And then we sue in court to force the agency to answer each one individually.

One correction - and I had ... (Below threshold)

One correction - and I had to tell Smith this yesterday - RedState does NOT fall into the same category as other incorporated blogs, simply because we're already a registered political committee as WELL as an corporation registered under the 527 regulations of the IRS. In short, we're bulletproof and don't have a dog in this race, exactly.

I've signed the letter, hop... (Below threshold)

I've signed the letter, hope everyone will. Then I hope you'll mosey over to Vote for Judges and sign a petition for congressional hearings on the judiciary.

Here's why: Although it's vital to get the best rule possible out of the FEC, the FEC is doing only what Congress instructed and what the Supreme Court allowed. The Supreme Court should've stood up against the BCRA's blatant attack on free speech. And who knows what's next? Do you think that if John McCain thought he'd be able to ban blog speech, he wouldn't give it a whirl?

The courts' current definition of the Constitution is "whatever." That's got to change, or else we'll have to fight this battle over and over again.

Unfortunately, that letter/... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Unfortunately, that letter/petition is signed (to date, having just looked it over again) by under four thousand persons.

The letter/petition should be more widely desciminated, made available elsewhere, although at the moment I don't know how/where, just that the interest and support for these issues seems to be a popular one and so far, I'd estimate that that interest/support would exceed the approximate four thousand who have signed the letter.

But, is it my own limitation showing here or has this issue not at all been included by the media? So far, had I not seen this issue (impending legislative restrictions, etc. for bloggers with political interests/concerns) on Wizbang and Redstate, I'd have not even known about it. Just saying, seems like the legislation has been intended to slip by under cover of public lack of awareness about it.

Gee, it's great to know tha... (Below threshold)
Neo:

Gee, it's great to know that a bunch of bureacrats was able, just barely, to suspend our 1st Admendment rights.

It doesn't give me any warm and fuzz feeling to know that every time I want to speak, I have to make sure my right is still intact by checking with John McCain, Rus Feingold and a bunch of bureacrats.




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