HR 4900 doesn't look good for MyDD

Wow, looks like we in the "Online Coalition" were really wrong last year, in thinking that the the CTD (pdf of their Roll Call editorial) had their act together!

Where did they come up with this $5K amount? Does it include server costs? Advertising revenue? Amount that is paid for programming administration and blog writers? Amounts raised for candidates on ActBlue?

If it's yes to any of those, then MyDD would be encumbered with campaign finance laws. Ugh that. What is wrong with these people?

Maybe I just don't get what this "level of $5,000" means. For all we know, this could lead back to the "value of a link" argument. I do like the HR 1606 bill, which takes more of a "do no harm" approach.

Tags: HR 1606, HR 4900 (all tags)



We've got tie RWNM with all of this FEC Rep.

Listen up, people.

I've harping forever about why it is critical to bring in the multi-billion dollar scam operation that we call the RWNM into this mix.

I haven't seen convincing arguments that the same logic that they're trying employ to shut down the blogs (or minimize their impact) do not apply to the free promotion that the GOP gets with Fox, Limmbaugh etc etc.

Offense if sometimes the best form defense.

Jerome. it would be great to see you take lead into this line of attack. You and Kos of all people are in a unique position to do that.

by NeuvoLiberal 2006-03-18 03:43PM | 0 recs
Followup thoughts and some links

I posed the same question as above back in June at mydd and dkos. The dkos diary generated a few interesting comments. My essential question remains the same.

I have not spent enough time to read in detail the two bills (HR 1606, HR 4900) under consideration, earlier FEC's regulatory proposals, and the various opinions of these, except for cursory browsing, and quickly came away with the feeling that this really does touch off a whole host of complex questions and considerations.

The interested reader may find the following links useful:

- Redstate's FEC page: appears to be well organized

- mydd's tag pages HR 1606, HR 4900

- dkos tag pages HR 1606, HR 4900

- bill information pages: HR 4900, HR: and excellent new site that tracks every bill with direct links to the bill texts etc.

- CDT's homepage: they support HR. 4900. They have a pdf file talking about the differences between HR 4900 and HR1606, which appears to be an interesting read.

I repeat my basic point of view that we just can not let Hannitys and Limbaughs operate unfettered and allow restriction of unaffiliated blogs.

There must a sound legal argument to pitch this argument.


by NeuvoLiberal 2006-03-19 04:13AM | 0 recs
Re: HR 4900 doesn't look good for MyDD

Yet another plot by the VRWC to muzzle free speech.  However, reading the quoted text from HR4900 brings to mind something.  

What about the "Super Blog Communities" such as Yahoo, Google, MySpace, Blogger, and the host of others that maintain servers?  People put political opinion on those blogs, but reading the regulation, those services would be required to file the reports too since they spend more than $5k on their servers and Internet access.  

My, what a chilling effect on Interstate commerce.

Poor law unvetted is still poor law.

A poorly veiled attempt to muzzle free speech.

by NvDem 2006-03-18 04:42PM | 0 recs
Re: HR 4900 doesn't look good for MyDD

Unfortunately it is not the VRWC that is trying to squelch freedom of speech online, it's our own Democratic Incumbent Caucus.

Most Republicans supported HR1606 (the good bill) while most Democrats voted against it.

It's really our job here to call up our Democratic representatives and get them to do what's right.  

I called up my Republican representative and asked him to co-sponsor HR1606 and he did (first time for everything, I guess).  

Then I called up the neighboring Democratic representative and asked him also.  He didn't co-sponsor but he did vote right when the bill came to the floor.

All it took was a few phone calls.  Now the rest of you do it.

by Newt 2006-03-19 07:48AM | 0 recs
Consder it done!

by NvDem 2006-03-19 08:25AM | 0 recs
Keep a tight sphincter

Worst case scenarios....

Learn the law, mutate, adapt. Unless the law regulates the use of links, this law should be largely meaningless

Small corporations can redefine themselves easily and for trivial amounts of money.

Not every blog will need to lawyer-up. Only fools pay lawyers for trivial things like correspondance and filing FOIA requests. Sure you can, and no lawyer will tell you not to, but it's still stupid.

Encourage thousands of new blogs to bottleneck the regulatory process

File complaints against large companies that even remotely appear to be violating the laws

by bernardpliers 2006-03-18 06:17PM | 0 recs
Who is FUNDING these people?

 Obviosuly the CTD has no interest in the preservation of free speech.

 It would be instructive to trace their money sources, and the backgrounds of their leadership.

 Nobody's THIS dense. There IS an agenda here. And it squares perfectly with the Republican agenda of stifling free expression.

by Master Jack 2006-03-19 03:13AM | 0 recs
Re: Who is FUNDING these people?

How would you research that?

by Alice Marshall 2006-03-19 11:15AM | 0 recs

from their web page on funding
Foundations fund our work on a specific project or give us general support. CDT receives funding from corporations and trade associations to join our working groups (including those on Digital Privacy and Security; User Empowerment; Internet Privacy) or to provide general support. Public interest organizations interested in working on a particular issue join our working groups at no cost.

CDT Board of Directors
    * Jerry Berman, President, CDT
    * Toni Carbo, Professor, Univ. of Pittsburgh, School of Information Sciences
    * Beryl Howell, Managing Director, Stroz Friedberg, LLC
    * Judith F. Krug, Director, Office for Intellectual Freedom American Library Association
    * Mark Lloyd, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress
    * Daniel Weitzner, Technology and Society Domain Leader, World Wide Web Consortium
    * Tracy Westen, President, Center for Governmental Studies

by Alice Marshall 2006-03-19 11:25AM | 0 recs
Server costs up to $10,000 are excluded.

So says HR 4900, right there in the text of the legislation.  Thomas is down, but GovTrack summarizes HR 4900 here:

Excludes from the determination of such expenditures up to an annual aggregate amount of $10,000 for Internet-related expenses, such as those for Internet access and hosting services, creation of an Internet site, and creating, hosting, or participating in an online discussion using blogging or other software.

Right now, I'm wondering why you chose to clip an image from the pdf, shrink it to an unreadable size, and call it "Text from HR 4900 that would regulate MyDD," rather than copy the text and paste it as a quoation from the article:

The Bass-Allen bill creates a broad "safe harbor" level of $5,000 in spending below which no regulations apply. Thus, bloggers and ordinary citizens who do not spend more than $5,000 a year on online political speech are exempted from campaign finance laws. Under H.R. 4900, all that a blogger or small online speaker would have to ask is: "Have I spent more than $5,000 this year?" If the answer is "no" -- as it will be for 99 percent of bloggers and individuals on the Internet -- then no campaign finance laws will apply.

by Drew 2006-03-19 03:44AM | 0 recs
Given these and other unresolved issues... might be a good idea to DEBATE this bill before rushing to vote on it.

 Nobody has made any convincing argument as to why the blogosphere needs to be regulated AT ALL.

 I wonder what the CTD is so afraid of.

by Master Jack 2006-03-19 03:57AM | 0 recs
Consultants driving this ?

There is a whole industry of election consultants dispensing "wisdom" around the Beltway. These policy makers from both parties no doubt hate the blogs more than anyone, becuase the blogs prove how out of touch and brain damaged these professionals are. They make a lot money, know everybody in both parties, and have a lot of influence. This is the sort of thing Carville and Matalin would work together on.

by bernardpliers 2006-03-19 05:13AM | 0 recs

  There might be something to that.

  If the Democrats were an actual OPPOSITION party, they'd have fired most of their consultants years ago, especially after the 2002 debacle. And they'd be doing everything they can to working WITH and working THROUGH bloggers.

  As one example, a few bloggers did some amazing research on Samuel Alito's background and history, and crafted very, very good lines of argument for the Dems to oppose him without appearing to alienate the mythical "swing voters". And they did all this for free.

  The Dems in the Senate acted as if the bloggers didn't exist. And now Alito's on the Court.

  And yet these loser consultants remain. One is drawn to the conclusion that winning elections isn't a priority for the Democrats.

  Heck, BOTH parties would be looking at every edge they can, blogs included, to WIN elections. The Republicans are. The Democrats aren't. The Republicans embrace their blogs and make them part of their party apparatus. The Democrats shriek and run away from theirs.

   There's a virulent strain in the Democratic party that's more comfortable losing elections than winning them. One wonders of these elements are the ones trying to stifle blogs, which call them out on this behavior.

by Master Jack 2006-03-19 05:30AM | 0 recs
Re: And Lobbyists

Also this is an easy way to say they are passing campaign finance "reform" legislation without doing anything that reduces the influence of lobbyists who are really corrupting the country. So the lobbying industry would get behind this also.

by bernardpliers 2006-03-19 06:13AM | 0 recs
Herein lies the irony

 Groups like Common Cause and CTD were originaly set up to FIGHT the corrupting influence of lobbyists.

 Now that're acting in their interests.

 Like I said, nobody's that dense. There's likely been some co-option here. The Gingrichian doublespeak that emerges from these groups regarding this issue just sounds too pat and too familiar.

 Maybe it's not so ironic after all.

by Master Jack 2006-03-19 06:21AM | 0 recs
It goes back to participation

Your comment seems right on.   However, the legislators are used to the consultants (and the Lobby).  They are the old model that helped them to win elections, a tried and true formula.

I believe that legislators (fed and state level) as a whole do not understand the communications concept of blogs.  The power they have to level the playing field for a fair contest. But blogs are only part of the answer.

Another part of this problem is that we bloggers, for the most part, sit behind our keyboards and whine about the Party, the old guard, etc. The answer to this is that bloggers must get involved in the real world, seek out the Party HQ in your area, volunteer, put in the hours in the street, answer the phone and get abused by wingnuts, the nitty gritty work that needs to get done.  

I have done this, extensively, now when I call my Senator's office, (Congressman is a party hack R), State Reps, city council etc on issues.  I am listened to, I am listened to more than the lunatic fringe that walks in off of the street and has a rant.  Because I volunteered, when I can, I try to make the party more progressive, but I am a minority view and voice.  My victories are not easy with little support against the old guard.

Those who are behind this drown the blogs movement are those with a self interest in keeping the blogs down.  If even 50% of the bloggers at DailyKos or MyDD even took the time to get down to volunteer at the Party, there would be a dynamic that wouldn't even put this bill into serious play, the rumbling from the 'machine' back home would preclude consideration.

Remember, all politics is local, and no legislator wants to see their vocal local support displeased, especially the volunteer base they use to win elections.

by NvDem 2006-03-19 09:05AM | 0 recs
Re: HR 4900 doesn't look good for MyDD

You could always hire a technology transfer company and your problems will disappear as easy as 1,2,3. You just need to find the most suitable offer that meets your standards.

by tiberiu 2008-03-18 09:11AM | 0 recs


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