Benny's World

Monday, March 21, 2005

FEC Considers Restricting Online Political Activities

New Rules May Apply to Web Ads, Bloggers' Endorsements

By Brian Faler
Special to The Washington Post
Monday, March 21, 2005; Page A17

The Federal Election Commission has begun considering whether to issue new rules on how political campaigns are waged on the Internet, a regulatory process that is expected to take months to complete but that is already generating considerable angst online.

The agency is weighing whether -- and how -- to impose restrictions on a host of online activities, including campaign advertising and politically oriented blogs.

Election officials are reluctantly taking up the issue, after losing a court case last fall. The FEC, which enforces federal election law, had issued scores of regulations delineating how the campaign finance reform legislation adopted in 2002 ought to be implemented. But Reps. Christopher Shays (R-Conn.) and Martin T. Meehan (D-Mass.), who sponsored the legislation, complained that many of those rules were too lax, and they successfully sued to have them rescinded. The commission must now rewrite a number of those directions, including ones that left online political activities virtually free from government regulation.

"We are almost certainly going to move from an environment in which the Internet was per se not regulated to where it is going to be regulated in some part," said FEC Commissioner David M. Mason, a Republican. "That shift has huge significance because it means that people who are conducting political activity on the Internet are suddenly going to have to worry about or at least be conscious of certain legal distinctions and lines they didn't used to have to worry about."

Which people, what activities and where those lines should be drawn, though, have yet to be determined. The rise of the Internet as a political tool, the variety of ways in which it can be used to promote a campaign and the fact that most federal election laws were written long before the Internet became a household word have combined to present the agency's commissioners with plenty of knotty legal questions to consider. "


To read the rest, click on the title for the link from the WP.

Our government officials who are Republican want to control everything. My goodness, I thought this all was passe when the Berlin wall came down in 1989, or we defeated the Nazis in WWII.

There will be some heads rolling in 2006...many of them Republican, and they are nervous.


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