FEC rules on internet campaign finance additional laws
by Jerome Armstrong, Fri Mar 24, 2006 at 05:33:05 PM EST
For a blogger, this is great news. However, for a camapign, I'm unsure of the implications of their ruling. From the sounds of it, Google ads and Blogads are now going to have to carry a disclaimer. I can't imagine that even being practical for candidates to run disclaimers in their search-term ads. Here's the summary (pdf)
I don't trust anyone who capitalizes the internet.
How do the new rules affect Internet political activity by individuals?
The new rules explicitly exempt from regulation the Internet activities of unpaid individuals or groups of individuals. An individual or group of individuals ability to develop webpages, send electronic messages, provide hyperlinks, forward material that has been cut and pasted from political websites, or otherwise use computer or Internet resources for political activity are all exempt from regulation. (§ 100.94 and § 100.155)
How do the new rules affect the media?
Under the FEC.s existing media exemption, news stories, commentaries, and editorials (including endorsements) are exempt from regulation unless the media facility is owned or controlled by a candidate, political party, or FEC registered political committee. The new rules make clear that the media exemption applies to Internet-only media, as well as to the online components of traditional media. (§ 100.73 and § 100.132)
How do the new rules affect bloggers?
Bloggers will not be regulated under the new rules. Uncompensated blogging, whether done by an individual or a group of individuals, is exempt from regulation under the new individual Internet exemptions. (§ 100.94 and § 100.155). These exemptions are extended to incorporated blogs that are wholly owned by an individual or individuals, are engaged primarily in Internet activities, and derive a substantial portion of their income from their Internet activities. Additionally, a blogger or blog may qualify for the media exemption. (§100.73 and § 100.132)
What about bloggers who receive compensation from campaigns?
Under the new rules, a blogger who receives compensation is not required to disclose such payments. However, campaigns must continue to report such disbursements on their FEC filings.
Do I need a disclaimer on my website?
Regardless of the content that appears on an individual or groups website, a disclaimer is not required unless the individual or group is a FEC registered political committee. FEC registered political committees must place disclaimers on all of their websites that are available to the general public. (§ 110.11)
Do I need a disclaimer on my Internet advertisement?
Because Internet advertisements are public communications, an individual or group must include a disclaimer on any Internet advertisement that expressly advocates the election or defeat of a clearly identified Federal candidate, or on any Internet advertisement that solicits contributions. FEC registered political committees must place disclaimers on any Internet advertisements they pay for, regardless of content. (§ 110.11)
Do I need a disclaimer on my email?
Regardless of content, an individual or group does not need to put a disclaimer on its email unless the individual or group is a FEC registered political committee. FEC registered political committees must place disclaimers on all emails of more than 500 substantially similar communications. (§ 110.11)
Can I use my work computer for political Internet activities?
The FEC's long-standing rules allow for the occasional, isolated, or incidental use. of work facilities by employees for political activities. The new rules specify that this exemption allows employees to use work computers both at and away from the workplace for volunteer political activity, as long as they do so on their own time. The rules reiterate that corporations and unions are prohibited from coercing employees to participate in political activities. Additionally, a corporation may not condition the availability of its space and computers on their being used for political activity, or on support for or opposition to any particular candidate or political party.