Thursday, March 03, 2005

This is bizarre

Scroll down after hitting the link for the full story
The coming crackdown on blogging : "Bradley Smith says that the freewheeling days of political blogging and online punditry are over.

In just a few months, he warns, bloggers and news organizations could risk the wrath of the federal government if they improperly link to a campaign's Web site. Even forwarding a political candidate's press release to a mailing list, depending on the details, could be punished by fines.

Smith should know. He's one of the six commissioners at the Federal Election Commission, which is beginning the perilous process of extending a controversial 2002 campaign finance law to the Internet.

In 2002, the FEC exempted the Internet by a 4-2 vote, but U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly last fall overturned that decision. 'The commission's exclusion of Internet communications from the coordinated communications regulation severely undermines' the campaign finance law's purposes, Kollar-Kotelly wrote."
Since it is the three Democrats who are preventing an appeal of the judicial ruling, I have to wonder what the extent of the 'crackdown' would be. Would it merely target partisan Websites that masquerade as independent of a campaign? But how would you distinguish them? Didn't the Dems reap a huge harvest of contributions via the Web? Then why kill the golden goose? Something in this article is just not adding up....

Update (3/5/05): it seems I was right to be skeptical of the story above.