FEC to Regulate Bloggers, Redux

Mike Krempasky and Kevin Aylward have reports on yesterday’s FEC hearings on the issue of how campaign finance laws such as McCain-Feingold relate to bloggers. The much poo-poo’d warnings of FEC Commissioner Bradley Smith appear to have been spot on.

The bottom line is that blogs with few readers–which is to say, almost all blogs–appear to be safe while the most popular blogs, especially popular group blogs, are in a grey zone with the parameters yet to be set forth.

Krempasky has a PDF copy of the first draft of the law, which was actually much more restrictive than even Smith’s nightmare scenario. Fortunately, because Smith sounded the alarm and a lot of bloggers thereby got wind up what was happening before it became finalized, the current version is much tamer. Still, the idea that a personal website, uncoordinated with any candidate’s campaign, could be considered a political contribution simply because of opinions expressed on it, is as frightening as it is absurd.

FILED UNDER: Blogosphere, Media
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. FEC VS. BLOGS UPDATE: BRAD SMITH VINDICATED?
    The FEC vs. blogs controversy has been overshadowed by other news the past week or two, but Mike Krempasky of Redstate has an important update: To step back a moment, remember — on March 3rd, Commissioner Bradley Smith warned of…

  2. Mark says:

    HA! Now we are going to get Nigerian-style scams in our comment sections instead of email! I love it!

  3. James Joyner says:

    I deleted the comment before Mark’s and a similar one on another post and put the sender and ISP into my spam filter. We’ll see if it does any good.

  4. The FEC, the World and the Internet
    The outcry over the USA’s FEC and its attempts to regulate blogs reminds me of nothing more than the censorship attempts of regimes such as communist China or intolerant Saudi Arabia to stop their citizens from reading stuff that annoys the governmen…

  5. Q&A Friday: The FEC Vs. Bloggers
    Question: “What is your take on the following article in the WSJ Online? Will the FEC make bloggers kiss the…

  6. Q&A Friday: The FEC Vs. Bloggers
    Question: “What is your take on the following article in the WSJ Online? Will the FEC make bloggers kiss the…