FEC Recognizes Bloggers

The Federal Election Commission has dismissed complaints that two Internet bloggers violated campaign finance laws by advocating for certain candidates.  [ruling can be found here]

The decision upholds previous FEC rulings that blogs fall under a media exemption prohibiting regulation of news stories, commentaries and editorials in both traditional and online format.

The commission ruled unanimously Tuesday that Kos Media, LLC, which operates the liberal blog DailyKos, and Michael L. Grace, whose blog reportedly advocated the defeat of Rep. Mary Bono, R-Calif., in the last election, did not violate any laws by creating and publishing such content. In doing so, it rejected the claim that blogs with distinct political leanings should be regulated as political committees.

the fec decided that "Activity on the DailyKos website does not constitute a contribution or expenditure that would trigger political committee status."

adam bonin, the lawyer who represented dailykos, said that "the previous guidelines published by the FEC on the media and volunteering allowed the matter to be wrapped up in an "exceptionally quick" way."

In the second case, the FEC rejected allegations that Michael L. Grace made unreported expenditures when he leased space on a computer server to create a blog which advocated the defeat of Representative Mary Bono in the November 2006 election. The Commission found that the respondent did not fraudulently misrepresent himself in violation of 2U.S.C. § 441h and that the Act exempts from regulation volunteer activity by individuals.

these rulings were widely anticipated by bloggers who followed these cases.  the fec itself is not exactly a strong arm of regulation on campaign finance and disclosure and it was difficult to see how the complaints would be successful.  however, part of the point may have been to force liberal bloggers to spend money defending themselves.  like corporate america, conservatives realize that court cases aren't always about winning the case.  sometimes it's just about shutting down dissent...

Tags: bloggers, campaigns, FEC (all tags)

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