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United States Government Politics

FEC Will Not Regulate Political Blogging 171

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the still-free-to-speak-your-mind-for-now dept.
eldavojohn writes "Despite complaints that political bloggers should be subject to campaign finance laws since they are donating huge amounts of money in the form of advertising and media services to candidates, the FEC will not regulate political blogging. From the FEC statement: 'While the complaint asserts that DailyKos advocates for the election of Democrats for federal office, the commission has repeatedly stated that an entity that would otherwise qualify for the media exemption does not lose its eligibility because it features news or commentary lacking objectivity or expressly advocates in its editorial the election or defeat of a federal candidate.'"
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FEC Will Not Regulate Political Blogging

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  • Number of readers? Advertising income?
    • by Chuckstar (799005) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @05:28PM (#20486335)
      IANAL, but the answer to this question is based in 208 years of First Amendment law. Probably too voluminous to go into on this forum. However, "press" as defined under federal law is extremely broadly defined.

      The key issues that the FEC looks at are as follows:

      Is the organization in question owned or controlled by any "political party, political committee, or candidate" (these are defined under the regs). If it is owned by any of these, then it is considered an arm of that group and not "press".

      If it is not owned by any of these, then the next question is whether the "major purpose [of the organization] is involvement in campaign activity". If the answer is yes, then it is considered a political committee (see above).

      Note that campaign activity is specifically meant to be narrowly defined as involved in a federal election campaign. It does not encompass political activity broadly.

      So as long as an organization publishing to the web cannot be considered owned or controlled by any political part, political committee, or candidate and its major purpose is not to be involved in campaign activity, then its protected from these regulations.
      • ...Probably too voluminous to go into on this forum...

        You must be new here.
      • by Original Replica (908688) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @06:52PM (#20487407) Journal
        "press" as defined under federal law is extremely broadly defined.

        Given how influential Thomas Paine's "Common Sense" pamphlets were in spreading the movement towards the Revolution, I would think that one sided, heavy handed, idealogical rantings would be Constitutionally protected. DailyKos is the modern day equivalent of the political pamphlet, and should be protected as such. If there is going to be any kind of strong Democratic leadership/ideology to emerge places like the DailyKos are going to be important in sorting out a unified Democratic vision. Right now the only thing they have going for them is that they aren't the Republicans. That lack of cohesiveness and vision is how Kerry lost in 2004.
        http://www.earlyamerica.com/earlyamerica/milestone s/commonsense/ [earlyamerica.com]
    • by conspirator57 (1123519) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @05:40PM (#20486477)
      Hopefully just citizenship. While it's run by an individual it's constitutionally protected speech.

      At some point in the muddied waters or tea leaves the government decides you're a business (say because you let an ad banner firm place ads on your site in order to defray the hosting cost, or say when you pass some number of daily readers, or say whatever, but definitely by the time you incorporate or get a business license.) This is an area the Internet has made difficult for the government and is another, broader issue entirely.

      When that happens your company is categorized for a number of purposes, including taxes and business insurance. If you are a text/media content provider, then you are most likely some sort of publisher, which I think means for the FEC's purposes you are a media outlet, and thus in the same category as any other media outlet.

      Besides which, the big boys selectively report and even endorse candidates. And given the economic pressure the newspapers are under, it won't be long before some of them have shrunk to the point that some former-individual-blog-turned-opinion-site (Drudge, anyone?) is bigger than them. Will there then be calls to strip that newspaper of their media credentials or FEC exemption?

      Besides, many newspapers are divesting their printing press and contracting with a larger regional paper for printing. At what point is a paper no longer a paper?

      Likewise, there are some individuals who have their own papers published (call them crackpots if you want, but remember that's how many of our more venerable papers started.)

      How will you distinguish between "legitimate" media and the rest? Is it a worthy expenditure of government resources? Does it violate the rights of those determined not to be "press"?

      The best solution is for the government to leave it alone and let the economy sort it out, which surprisingly enough is what the FEC chose to do. That's what we have a "free" market for, right? Oh, yeah it isn't free: it's mercantilism.

      And until it isn't mercantilism we'll have people and companies calling for discrimination in order to protect larger businesses.

    • Sounds like the newspaper.

      Falcon
  • by Critical Facilities (850111) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @05:17PM (#20486165) Homepage
    Seriously. I think this is great as it gives at least some hope to the prospect of getting third parties on a ballot and giving them some sort of visibility to compete with the standard two parties. What I wonder is, what if a large, successful site (similar to Slashdot, but with an obvious political angle) starts to give enough attention to a third party candidate that seriously threatens the chances of the other 2 parties winning? I'm betting suddenly there would be changes in regulations. I hope not, but I bet there would be.
    • by Relic of the Future (118669) <dales@nOspAM.digitalfreaks.org> on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @05:24PM (#20486265)
      The failure of third-party candidates isn't as much about lack of exposure as it is about simple mathematics. The way we count votes actively discourages more than two contenders being in any election.

      In order to have any chance, third-parties need to get "first past the post" removed as the voting algorthm, and replaced with something like a Condorcet or even (bleh) IRV system.

      • Go with Proportional Representation, that will give you third-party representation. Then again, you could end up with some lunatic fringe parties.

        • by sethstorm (512897) *

          Then again, you could end up with some lunatic fringe parties.
          Not much different than what we have now, but at least "the base" is just "the base".
        • Nah.
          You vote for who you least want in office. Like golf, the lowest score wins.
          Make the bar to get on the ballet high enough to discourage lunatics (say 100K for a non-incumbent, 20K for past office holders of same level (state/federal/etc.), 10K for incumbents).
          -nB
          • Make the bar to get on the ballet high enough to discourage lunatics (say 100K for a non-incumbent, 20K for past office holders of same level (state/federal/etc.), 10K for incumbents).

            In other words lock out third political parties. I'm sure both Democrats and Republicans would love that.

            Falcon
      • by joebok (457904)
        I'm personally in favor of an Approval or Range voting approach - but you are absolutely right it is the voting system that is locking us into two parties. But how do you get representatives to change the system that got them their job? Ug.
        • by Original Replica (908688) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @07:14PM (#20487675) Journal
          But how do you get representatives to change the system that got them their job? Ug.

          It could be done, relatively peacefully, but only if a lot higher percentage of America knew and cared about the severe flaws in our voting system. If you could get the 36% of America that didn't vote in 2004 to actively express their dissatisfaction with our voting system, then it would become an issue would be addressed, eventually. But when that dissatisfaction manifests as voter apathy, well then the problems with our system are met with political apathy. As long as no politician can expect to win a Senate seat off of a campaign based in "Range Voting for a better USA" there will be no change.
      • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @07:02PM (#20487547)
        A serious third party contender actually brings up the risk of congress deciding the election. If you check the Constitution, you find that to win a presidential election, a candidate must receive a majority of the electoral votes. Now some people think "majority" means "most". It doesn't in this context, actually, it means more than 50%. Currently, that's 270 electoral votes. If nobody gets 270 or more it doesn't go back for a second try or anything like that, rather the electoral vote isn't what decides the president. Instead, the House of Representatives elects the president, and the Senate elects the vice president.

        Yes, really, it's happened twice before.

        Well when there's only two candidates, it is extremely likely one will get a majority of votes. Since there is an even number of electors it is possible for a split EC, but that's quite unlikely. However with a serious third contender, it becomes much more possible. The third contender doesn't have to be more popular than the two others, just popular enough to grab some electoral votes.

        For example suppose you have a race with the typical Democrat and Republican, but also a non-crazy Libertarian (I know, seems to be an impossibility). The Republican is the more popular than the Democrat, but only by a small margin. Let's say it would work like the 2004 election and result in a 286-252 win for the Republican. However the Libertarian manages to woo some of the fiscal conservatives to his side instead. Not very many, but enough to win Arizona, Kentucky and South Dakota. Now instead it's a 267-252-19 setup. The Republican has the most votes, but it isn't enough. Nobody wins, and it goes to Congress to decide.

        As such at a presidential level, it's extremely stacked for a two party system. On other levels where it's a pure popular, who ever gets the most gets the job system, it is easier and indeed third party candidates to win from time to time. But it's a real problem in the presidential election. I mean look at how wound up people got about a president winning the electoral vote without winning the popular vote (also has happened before). Think the fury a congressional election would generate.
        • by myth24601 (893486)

          As such at a presidential level, it's extremely stacked for a two party system. On other levels where it's a pure popular, who ever gets the most gets the job system, it is easier and indeed third party candidates to win from time to time. But it's a real problem in the presidential election. I mean look at how wound up people got about a president winning the electoral vote without winning the popular vote (also has happened before).

          Both of Bill Clinton's victories were like this. Ross Perrot won enough o

        • For example suppose you have a race with the typical Democrat and Republican, but also a non-crazy Libertarian (I know, seems to be an impossibility).

          It's most likely the Libertarian will be the sanest candidate, and the best. Democrats want control, Republicans want control, but Libertarians will give power back to the people.

          Let's say it would work like the 2004 election and result in a 286-252 win for the Republican. However the Libertarian manages to woo some of the fiscal conservatives to his sid

        • by bigpat (158134)

          As such at a presidential level, it's extremely stacked for a two party system. On other levels where it's a pure popular, who ever gets the most gets the job system, it is easier and indeed third party candidates to win from time to time. But it's a real problem in the presidential election. I mean look at how wound up people got about a president winning the electoral vote without winning the popular vote (also has happened before). Think the fury a congressional election would generate.

          Most State elections are also very stacked towards a two party system. Where the two parties have primaries to weed out their candidates, leaving the rest to be seen as spoilers in a general election. It is essentially true, because it is designed that way, a third party or independent candidate can split the majority vote and lead to candidates with less popular positions getting elected. It has led to people resigning themselves to either voting Republican or Democrat or not voting at all, not because

        • I've been thinking about that. I think, then, that the best way to attack the problem is to start from the bottom, and work up toward pressident.

          Begin by using Condorcet methods with you coworkers to decide where to go for lunch. Then local elections; schoolboard, PTA, town council, mayor. And on up the chain; representative to state house; representative to US house; governor; US senate. Get people used to the idea slowly, don't shock them by going straight for pressident.

          • by msouth (10321)
            mod parent up. that's a very good idea. Same thing applies to libertarianism.
    • by eln (21727) * on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @05:30PM (#20486349) Homepage
      Sites with obvious political biases tend to be frequented only by people with similar political biases. In todays "party uber alles" political culture, these sites are basically echo chambers for members of the particular political party they align with. If one of these sites decided to switch to a third party, it would probably lose a vast majority of its readers as they all went in search of a site for their party. This would happen even if the political philosophy of the site didn't change at all.

      The biggest problem with third parties today other than finances is perception. People don't support third parties in any great numbers because all of the major third parties are out on the fringes of the political spectrum. Most people hang out in the political middle, so a 3rd party that caters to the far left (like the Greens) or the far right (like the Libertarians) aren't going to have a whole lot of luck winning elections on the national level. They can only win in localities where the population is heavily skewed toward one end of the political spectrum or the other.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by hidannik (1085061)
        Most Libertarians would dispute any characterization of their party as far-right, after first disputing that political views can be seen as along only a single dimension.

        Instead they would characterize themselves as in favor of both extreme economic freedom (a view usually associated with the far right) and extreme social/personal freedom (a view usually associated with the far left).

        Hans
      • Sites with obvious political biases tend to be frequented only by people with similar political biases.

        Well duh. That sorta stands to reason. I mean, you don't have people who hate Elmo going to Elmo fan sites very often do you? The only reason why a Republican would go to DailyKos or DemocraticUnderground would be for oposition research. It's not like they allow dissenting points of view posted there..and given that, you aren't going to attract and keep folks that haven't already swallowed the ideological koolaid. Lest anyone thinks I'm picking on Democrats, I believe that the FreeRepublic is also run

      • by tsotha (720379)

        That's not the only problem, or even the biggest one. Third parties tend to "steal" votes from one of the major parties, so by voting third party you're essentially supporting the one guy out of the three that you'd be least likely to vote for.

        That's the "spoiler" effect that put Bill Clinton into office in 1992 and George Bush into office in 2000. I find it hard to believe many people who voted for Nader in 2000 would have chosen Bush over Gore. Given the election was so close it's hard to argue agains

        • That's the "spoiler" effect that put Bill Clinton into office in 1992 and George Bush into office in 2000. I find it hard to believe many people who voted for Nader in 2000 would have chosen Bush over Gore. Given the election was so close it's hard to argue against the stipulation "Ralph Nader elected George Bush".

          In 2000 I was planning to vote for a third party candidate, I hadn't made up my mind but I was going to vote for either Harry Brown or Ralph Nader. However when I saw how close the election wa

      • Most people hang out in the political middle, so a 3rd party that caters to the far left (like the Greens) or the far right (like the Libertarians)

        This needs a correction, the Libertarian Party is in the center. It is fiscally conservative and socially liberal. It's perceptions like this where many make a mistake in saying the Libertarians are to the right.

        Falcon
      • by Nimey (114278)
        What really shits me is that we /had/ a viable centrist third party, Reform. It had Ross Perot get it started, and he was the premier candidate in '92 and '96. I think the party had won some state elections.

        Then that miserable cur Pat Buchanan came in in 2000 and hijacked the party. He'd /always/ run as Republican before. My personal theory is that he ran as a spoiler because Reform was seen as a threat to the Republican Party. So Reform split into far-right (Buchanan) and loonies (Hagelin), and we los
        • by falsified (638041)
          The Reform party was a holding tank, not a party. A party isn't a party without a platform, unless it's a revolutionary party, in which case you really have a one-point platform ("freedom" or something).

          • by Nimey (114278)
            Didn't bother reading the link?

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reform_Party_of_the_U nited_States_of_America#Platform [wikipedia.org]

            I still think the party's point (when it was a going concern) was to be moderate, rather than divisive. Considering who we've ended up with running the country (the Great Polarizer)...
            • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

              The party's point was to get George Bush, Sr., un-elected in 1992.

              Two weeks before the Democratic convention, it was hopeless for the Democrats. Comedians were even making jokes about it. One joked that a worker assembling the convention stage said, "Ahhh, what's the point?"

              Then, the day Clinton will speak, Perot pulls out. The eyes of the nation turn to see what Clinton will say. The rest is history.

              Perot did a masterful job -- mission accomplished!

              Given him and Bush, Sr., were bigshots in the Republic
    • I would prefer a rule that stated that bloggers who specifically blogged on political matters for the demonstrable purpose of astroturfing were subject to campaign finance laws, but that all bloggers who acted as political correspondents or debaters should be given the same protections and immunities as any other political commentator or journalist. Instead of having no law, which can always be abused because there is equally no explicit protection, have a sensible set of ranges which are either protected o
      • I would prefer a rule that stated that bloggers who specifically blogged on political matters for the demonstrable purpose of astroturfing were subject to campaign finance laws, but that all bloggers who acted as political correspondents or debaters should be given the same protections and immunities as any other political commentator or journalist.

        And who's going to decide what's what, you? What may be astroturfing to you may be legitimate to someone else. All this would do is shutdown legitimate poli

  • by cromar (1103585)
    This shouldn't even be a question. Speech != $$$ in any real way that I can think of. Also, economic generalizations != reality.
    • Well, speech can equal money. When working on a campaign, you not only purchase advertising (television, radio, etc.), you also try to get as much 'free' media as you can. I have held news conferences in front of the opposition HQ, in order to get my candidate on the front page of the newspaper. The more your name is mentioned, the better your chances are. Even negative publicity is still publicity.

      I don't agree with the republican that submitted the complaint, but it will be interesting to see what ha

      • Money = the microphone. You can still print out or write anything you want and other than buying paper, it's free. You have the right to free speech. No one ever said anything about the microphone.

        As far as KOS is concerned -- no we haven't seen the last of it. I expect the blogs to be regulated like PAC before too long. There are too many people with a lot of power who don't want some upstart blogger to have enough power to sway voters. They want to be able to control what's said, and the mainstream p
  • by ackthpt (218170) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @05:21PM (#20486227) Homepage Journal

    It's not for promoting candidates, it's for smearing their opponents.

  • Good news (Score:3, Insightful)

    by eck011219 (851729) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @05:28PM (#20486325)
    This seems to be good news (though I'll admit that I haven't been following the issue as much as I'd like to have -- I'm sure someone will point out a very reasonable downside to it).

    I think the bad feelings (and subsequent reactionary attempts at regulation) come from the fact that the conservative voter base tends to be a bit older and less Internet-savvy. There's no reason they couldn't have the conservative equivalent of DailyKos, but it just wouldn't get read as much. So to conservatives it feels like there's an unfair advantage and that bloggers should follow the same rules as those who advertise on the Marconi Wireless to "level the playing field." But really, the right reaction would be to educate their voter base on this great new medium. I don't know if it would work, but I'm glad this sense of unfairness didn't result in opinion and discourse being subjected to the same regulations as advertising and fund raising. They're very different, and the latter two become empty manipulation without the first two.

    When this first came up, I figured it was a lock that bloggers would get nailed (the FEC has a very colorful history of not understanding when technology is good and when technology is bad).
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by aeschenkarnos (517917)
      There's no reason they couldn't have the conservative equivalent of DailyKos, but it just wouldn't get read as much.

      Free Republic? Little Green Footballs? WorldNetDaily?

      • by cromar (1103585)
        Don't forget http://powerlineblog.com/ [powerlineblog.com]. My dad uses another one, too, but I can't recall it at the moment...
      • Note: I am a die-hard liberal. But, I wouldn't confuse LGF, Michelle Malkin or World Net Dailys content with Kos. While Kos frequently rips on the opposition (just like the above sites) Kos also actively tries to organize the liberal base. He lists potential democratic candidates in each congressional district and puts in requests for fundraising and volunteers. In 2006, he was actively pushing for volunteers for the conservative democrats that won seats in North Carolina and other states.

        That is very

        • Just today, the latest LGF troll: http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=269 3 1_Airplane_Accidents&only [littlegreenfootballs.com]:

          German Chair of of IPPNW Describes 9/11 Terror Attacks as 'Airplane Accidents'.

          Interestingly, not one of nearly 200 comments even ponders whether this was imperfect use of English, from a non-native speaker... instead, no, he must be a Nazi. A "9/11 denier".

          What a bunch of moronic pond scum.

        • by FleaPlus (6935)

          While Kos frequently rips on the opposition (just like the above sites) Kos also actively tries to organize the liberal base. He lists potential democratic candidates in each congressional district and puts in requests for fundraising and volunteers.

          From my observations, the left-wing sites like Kos's seem to focus more on organizing the liberal base in general, while right-wing and libertarian sites focus more on rallying specific issues. For example, there's things like Vets for Freedom [vetsforfreedom.org] (based around pro-war support) and Porkbusters [porkbusters.org] (based around pork barrel funding). There's also the flurries that occur whenever some major journalistic funniness is going on, such as Rathergate or Reutersgate [wikipedia.org], or the Duke lacross/Nifong scandal.

          • From my observations, the left-wing sites like Kos's seem to focus more on organizing the liberal base in general, while right-wing and libertarian sites focus more on rallying specific issues.

            Exactly what I was trying to say. I haven't found a GOP site that focuses on organizing the base. That doesn't mean there isn't one, I just haven't found one. If there isn't a site like that now, I can guarantee the GOP establishment will try to put one together before 2008.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      I'm as blue as the next /.er, but the politician who was most recently screaming to "level the playing field" was "censor-crat" Clinton (in the opposite direction from the one discussed in this story, of course).

      Heaven knows I'll probably end up voting for her this go-around, but when it comes to technology and censorship, there's no political party (that has a chance of winning) that aligns with the /.-mindset.

      • when it comes to technology and censorship, there's no political party (that has a chance of winning) that aligns with the /.-mindset.
        All a party needs is the right candidate http://www.ontheissues.org/Ron_Paul.htm#Technology [ontheissues.org]
        • The odds of Ron Paul winning his primary are approximately zero. Good luck to him though! If he does, somehow, miraculously, win, I might be tempted to vote Republican.

          He, too, would benefit from a voting method that supported third candidates as viable alternatives.

          • The odds of Ron Paul winning his primary are approximately zero.
            He's telling the truth and speaking intelligently, that's not very popular with his party, but he's pulling in a lot of donations from individuals, so I wouldn't give him up for dead quite yet.
      • I wont bother with stating my political beliefs to avoid the left/right flame war, but sufficient to say I loath both democrats and republicans. I don't have minor issues with the candidates; I have large ideological divides with all of them. I am pretty sure I am not alone.

        What do I do election day? I vote. I vote because not voting doesn't separate you from the lazy bastard with no opinion who can't part with an hour of his time once every 2 years. Such people are not worthwhile for politicians to co
        • sufficient to say I loath both democrats and republicans. I don't have minor issues with the candidates; I have large ideological divides with all of them. I am pretty sure I am not alone.

          Same here, you're not alone.

          Falcon
        • loath both democrats and republicans. I don't have minor issues with the candidates; I have large ideological divides with all of them. I am pretty sure I am not alone.

          No, but I think you'll be lonely. There's plenty of people who don't share a large ideological divide, and the fact that the main political candidates' policies aren't compatible with yours likely means that a majority of people don't agree with you. After all, a politician wouldn't be very good at his job if he didn't do what the people want

      • Heaven knows I'll probably end up voting for her this go-around

        If I get the chance I'll vote for Ron Paul, I'll have to wait to see who the candidates are before I decide. But it won't be the Socialist Clinton.

        Falcon
    • by faloi (738831)
      I don't know about a reasonable downside, but I could see people using this judgment as ammunition against people [commondreams.org] calling for the reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine. Especially if they start talking about the "George Soros funded political machine" or whatever else is hot these days.
    • the Marconi Wireless
      Ok, so you're mocking old conservatives, but still, this is a pet peeve of mine.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invention_of_radio [wikipedia.org]
    • It's called Free Republic [freerepublic.com], it's been around since 1997 (5 years before DailyKOS), has nearly 3 times the monthly visitors (around 1 million unique people per month, versus 350K for dKOS), and is kind of the central "clearing house" for all threads/blogs Conservative.

      The fact that FreeRupublic gets zero press, as compared to DailyKOS, is pretty telling about the media's awareness of the Conservative movement...

      • by eck011219 (851729)
        Indeed. To everyone who responded with lists of conservative blogs, I know of the biggies. But I didn't bring up DailyKos as the be-all, end-all (and given the reaction here, it was a poor choice for an example) -- I just think if you could count (which you can't, and I'm just going on a hunch here), you'd find a lot more small liberal blogs than small conservative blogs. I just think the average age of liberals is younger than that of conservatives -- not wrong or right, just how I suspect it is. And the y
    • Re:Good news (Score:5, Informative)

      by FleaPlus (6935) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @07:26PM (#20487801) Journal

      I think the bad feelings (and subsequent reactionary attempts at regulation) come from the fact that the conservative voter base tends to be a bit older and less Internet-savvy.
      Do you have any examples to support the belief that conservative bloggers support more internet regulation? Everything I've seen on the topic from them are very much against the FEC regulating political blogging.

      There's no reason they couldn't have the conservative equivalent of DailyKos, but it just wouldn't get read as much.
      Instapundit.com has the same google ranking as DailyKos. There's also forums like freerepublic.com which have been around longer than Daily Kos and have a similar amount of traffic.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tsotha (720379)

      Speaking as a former Republican (and still a conservative), I think this came up for two reasons.

      • Big blogs are an obvious loophole in campaign finance laws. With no regulation they're extremely susceptable to astroturfing campaigns. If you're gonna limit other people's free speech (McCain-Feingold), then why not blogs?
      • The resurrection of the "Fairness" doctrine by Democrats in Congress. It's pretty obviously a naked attempt to kill talk radio, which tends to be conservative. I could make the argument
  • instead of politics? a lot of stuff goes under the category YRO when it isn't at all. This time it makes sense, but they don't put it there.
  • From TFA:

    The FEC said the blogger, Michael L. Grace, acted in the capacity of a volunteer and his blogging efforts did not constitute an ``in-kind service'' subject to financial disclosure rules.

    Which seems to imply that if Kos had provided an in-kind service the ruling may have been different.

    Also, from the FEC press release:

    Since 1974, media activity has been explicitly exempted from federal campaign finance regulation. In March 2006, the Commission made clear that this exemption extends to online media

    • Right. I think that the FEC wanted to make sure that they distinguished between a site like DailyKos receiving money through advertising as opposed to them receiving money or the equivalent from a political candidate or party. I think a muddier area would be if, say, the DNC placed a lot of ads on DailyKos. Now, would the site still be exempt? My guess is that it would, as long as its ad space was open to anyone, regardless of political affiliation. However, if the ads were a way for the DNC to funnel
      • Agreed. I'm still in shock that the decision seems rational ;)

        Also, since paid-for bloggers ( by any political entity ) would seemingly have to be reported under campaign finance rules, this might make spotting astroturf easier.
    • f a blogger is independant of a political organization ( or at least, doesn't get his bills paid for by a political organization ) said blogger isn't subject to campaign finance law.

      As much as I may hate what some say, applying political speech to campaign finance laws is an abridgment of the First Amendment's Freedom of Speech, said freedom meant specifically for political speech. Afterall it was while Thomas Paine was serving in the army under Gen Washington that he wrote "These are the times that tri

  • A website that works like Digg, but for political essays people write. Then with a greater sense of moderation rules, some writers will become popular while others slip into the abyss. I think a political website where anyone can be heard, and that the top dogs of the country are voted upon by readers, then finally a man of the masses could be elected to office instead of the man who gained campaign finances.
    • On the right hand side of the main DailyKos page you'll see "recommended" diaries and "recent" diaries. Anybody can sign up to the site and write diaries (1 per day) - basically political essays (or on anything if you like). Get yourself recommended by other users, and you're there.
    • Wow, I was just strikingly reminded of Peter Wiggin when you said that. A prominent figure in the online debates who gets elected to power. Cool idea, to be sure.
  • Media exemption? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by readin (838620) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @05:49PM (#20486619)
    "an entity that would otherwise qualify for the media exemption"

    Why does the "media" get an exemption? They have biases and vested interests. Freedom speech and the press is supposed to be for everyone, not just selected people who get "exemptions".
    • Yes, but if you arrogate the power to make exemptions to yourself, you have the power to make people beg you for them, and give you stuff.
  • Now when your slinging mud if you have facts to back you up, you can democratically exercise your right to participate in the process. If your mud makes it to Wikileaks [wikileaks.org] then you can be rest assured that the scumballs will eventually be weeded out by the voices of citizens. I'm trying to hit all those words that seem to have lost their meanings in recent years - suggestions on any I missed?
  • From the FEC statement: 'While the complaint asserts that DailyKos advocates for the election of Democrats for federal office, the commission has repeatedly stated that an entity that would otherwise qualify for the media exemption does not lose its eligibility because it features news or commentary lacking objectivity or expressly advocates in its editorial the election or defeat of a federal candidate.'"

    Hmm...let's see if they'll apply this to talk radio as well.
  • by MoodyLoner (76734) <moodyloner@ca.gmail@com> on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @06:46PM (#20487325) Homepage Journal

    "Despite complaints that Fox News should be subject to campaign finance laws since they are donating huge amounts of money in the form of advertising and media services to candidates, the FEC will not regulate Fox News. From the FEC statement: 'While the complaint asserts that Fox News advocates for the election of Republicans for federal office, the commission has repeatedly stated that an entity that would otherwise qualify for the media exemption does not lose its eligibility because it features news or commentary lacking objectivity or expressly advocates in its editorial the election or defeat of a federal candidate.'"
    Yes, that's unfair of me. Daily Kos doesn't deserve to be compared to Fox News.
    • by MoodyLoner (76734)
      And naturally, by the time I post this six people have made the same point, and better.

      This would be why I post to Slashdot once a month now.
  • If the Daily Kos is protected speech, then Rush Limbaugh is protected speech (and I think both should be). What about Bill Moyers? He largely advocates liberal causes on TV.

    Now, what if I bought a billboard that said "Vote Libertarian," which is what the back of my iPod says? What is the difference except that the Daily Kos buys electrons to send its message and I buy ink molecules? The intent is the same.

    Now, what is the real difference if a friend and I pool our money together to buy the billboard?

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