Bill Introduced to Exempt Internet From Campaign Finance Regulation

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) introduced a bill in Congress Thursday that would clearly establish that online publishers such as bloggers are exempt from campaign finance laws. The text of the bill is accessible here (pdf). From an e-mail we received from Sen. Reid's office:

Today Democratic Leader Harry Reid introduced a bill which would codify the Internet exemption (from FEC Regulations) into federal law. In addition Senator Reid sent a letter (pdf) to FEC Chairman Scott Thomas making it clear that Congress "did not intend to regulate" the Internet. Senator Reid made the following statement:

"The Internet has generated a surge in grassroots involvement in our government and has proven to be a democratizing medium in our political process. Regulation of the Internet at this time would blunt its tremendous potential, discourage broad political involvement in our nation and diminish our representative democracy. For all these reasons, we should avoid silencing this new and important form of political speech. "

Thanks, Senator Reid. As bloggers, we sincerely appreciate your support.

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    The fact is our government if you can call it our government, wants regulation of the internet to stop grassroot movements from happening. Harry Reid may or may-not be doing his best to stop this coming removal of the net; china his been working on controlling the net and it is working all to well, right now if you say something the reds don't like its off to prison and a work camp; maybe that is what our government would love to do to us? but if Reid can help to stop the coming Controls good for him.

    Why should anyone's speech be controlled? One of the truly bizarre outcomes of McCain/Feingold - porn in all its forms is protected speech, while a paid political ad can be regulated out of existence. A quick read of the debates on the 1st amendment by the founders will tell you how absurd that is

    Does this mean that Bloggers will also be exempt from the 60 day rule?

    Re: Bill Introduced to Exempt Internet From Campai (none / 0) (#4)
    by pigwiggle on Fri Mar 18, 2005 at 06:41:31 AM EST
    Campaign finance reform; restricting free speech in an effort to keep our elected officials from talking money, quid pro quo. Here is a novel idea; in place of restricting fundamental liberty, folks who don’t like politicians who accept certain monies should vote similarly. Anticipated response; folks are too stupid for this, they will vote the way TV told them. “Thanks, Senator Reid. As bloggers, we sincerely appreciate your support.” Support? The PayPal contributions folks around here send is support; how about “thanks Senator Reid for keeping the feds from tossing us in jail for exercising a right reflected in the first amendment.” Here is a sticky wicket; is this going to apply to folks like Jerome Armstrong and Markos Moulitsas Zuniga? When someone takes money from a campaign “to ensure that they [Armstrong and Zuniga] said positive things” does this not make them, in spirit if not concretely, part of that campaign? One more fist into this tarbaby. [I’m pigwiggle and I approve this post]

    This is just some noise in the forest. Reid is sharp. He knows how to feed the base of the party. This is a good tactic to steal the issue from the repugs. The risk is will they bite at his bait or will they kill it with a bill that sounds a lot like his but has a totally different outcome.

    Go Harry! I don't think the Republicans as a whole will oppose this bill, although John McCain and his fellow gaggers might. Just imagine what 2008 will be like, when every candidate at every level, from the PTA to the Presidency, will have a blog or two dedicated to outing them on every issue and denouncing every position they have ever taken, not to mention collecting donations for their opponent's campaign coffers. Electronic Democracy will take a big step forward in the next three years if this bill becomes law, and I for one hope it does.

    This is a bad idea -- it's overbroad, and will allow too many bad practices to overwhelm the internet and the intent of CFR. I've written about it on Kos.

    Blog readers will be able to sort out for themselves what blogs are good and what blogs are full of **it. I hope that the bill passes and allows bloggers to continue to be a force.

    We seem to forget that the Surpreme Court, in striking down the Communications Decency Act, ruled that the Internet has the same first amendment protections as newspapers. That already makes any attempt by the FEC to regulate the Internet an illegal act and upon any challenge the Courts would put the FEC in its place.

    Not exactly -- not at all, Victor. It's precisely as regulable as real space, which is why the CDA was unconstitutional. Moreover, newspapers have been given an explicit "media exemption" from Congress from compliance with CFR. Blogs haven't. (Yet.)

    Actually bloggers are already exempt. If you look right there in the first article of the bill of rights you'll see it. Then again it basically says all forms of speech are protected against government intrusion. what this boils down to is the feds making an unconstitutional law & then making a law that slightly lessens the impact of the first law. It's like giving your family the death sentence but then turning around & acquiting your kids. It's a nice gesture but doesn't address the underlying problem - which is government making laws it is forbidden to make. If the law passes that's cool. If not that's cool too. I & other bloggers will keep writing about whatever the hell we want. We've been using the first amendment to defend the second amendment for some time. I have no problem using the second to defend the first. see also: mccain-feingold-insurrection