The FEC, under court order to regulate campaign advertising on the Web, has been looking at regulating other political activity on the Internet. The tremendous increase of Netroots political action groups in sparking national attention and debate leading to mass organized intervention activities; on top of the all important fund raising potential, had also come under FEC scrutiny for regulation.
Anxiety on all sides of the political turf was high. The Net has become an essential tool for organizing, communicating and replacing the old venues for political discussion and debate. Althought the New England states still have town hall meetings and the midwest has pancake house forums; letters to the editors have become an insufficient means of having meaningful debate and discussion in densely populated areas of the country. The blogosphere fills an important role in society by allowing the conversations to take place with minimal restrictions. It’s potential to contribute constructively to the multiple problems we face needs to be developed with a more functional framework.
Regulations can serve the public interest well. According to an article in WaPo today, it appears that this time the Republicans may have developed a reasonable policy:
For the most part, leading advocates of the blogger community welcomed the proposed rules.
“As a whole, these are rules that I think those who have been fighting regulations are going to be cheering,” said Richard L. Hasen, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, who runs the Election Law blog.
“Generally, it’s in line with what I think bloggers ask for,” said Jerome Armstrong, the founder of the liberal blog MyDD.
Armstrong raised one problem with the proposed regulation:
Armstrong voiced concern, however, over potential difficulties that could result from a requirement that campaign ads have disclaimers. “The size of a Web ad and the size of blog ad is so small that having to put a disclaimer on it is going to take up all the space.”
Congress still has legislation sponsored by Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex.) to consider and the six member Commission is due to meet Monday to further amend it’s proposal.
The only person quoted as considering the proposal as too comples is Mike Krempasky, who runs the conservative blog RedState. Well, we would be suspicious if he was happy with it.