Feds May Regulate “Political” Blogs and Other Political Content Providers

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The Federal Election Commission is considering regulating and restricting online entities and activities which run to the political, including political blogs and other political content providers and sources. Let’s face it, anyone with a keyboard, a monitor, and a brain, is aware that online content providers, particularly bloggers, played a not insignificant role in the pre-election debate and dialogue last year. But was it significant enough to warrant regulation and oversight by the FEC? Some, apparently, think so.

In fact, according to Federal Election Commissioner David M. Mason, “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. 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.”


The distinctions and lines include such things as whether a blogger who works for a political entity or campaign should be required to disclose that information on their blog? And what sorts of Internet benefits can be considered a “contribution” to a campaign? How much, if anything, is it worth if someone provides a link to their favourite candidate’s website? If that link is paid for by the campaign, does that need to be disclosed? Does the campaign need to list it as a contribution?

But before you get too far up in arms, dear reader, you need to know that of the six commissioners who sit on the Federal Election Commission, fully four of them have come out publicly against overreaching regulation, at least, of independent bloggers. Said Commissioner Ellen Weintraub, “I really see no appetite at the agency for regulating bloggers. I would be very, very surprised if that was the result.”

Still, it’s a big subject, and a big issue, and it bears keeping oneself informed. Particularly if one is a political blogger.

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No Paywall Here!
The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free?
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