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Lawmakers: Hands off blogs (FR mentioned)
CNET ^ | March 14, 2005 | Reuters

Posted on 03/14/2005 7:45:11 PM PST by mdittmar

Bloggers should enjoy traditional press freedoms and not face regulation as political groups, lawmakers and online journalists said Friday.

In separate letters, Democratic lawmakers and Internet commentators urged the Federal Election Commission to make sure that political Web sites that serve as focal points for political discussion, such as Wonkette.com and Freerepublic.com, don't have to comply with campaign-finance rules.

"Curtailing blogs and other online publications will dampen the impact of new voices in the political process and will do a disservice to the millions of voters who rely on the Web for original, insightful political commentary," said the Online Coalition, a group of bloggers and online activists.

Fourteen members of the House of Representatives said blogs foster a welcome diversity of viewpoints.

"This 'democratization' of the media is a welcome development in this era of media consolidation and a corresponding lack of diversity of views in traditional media outlets," said the group, which consists of thirteen Democrats and one Republican.

The FEC ruled in 2002 that Internet activities do not count as "coordinated political activity" and thus don't have to comply with laws that regulate money in politics.

But a U.S. judge struck down that ruling as too broad last year, and the FEC is scheduled to consider it later this month.

If the FEC determines that blogs are in fact political organizations, they could face fines if they work too closely with political campaigns by, for example, reprinting their press releases.

FEC spokesman Bob Biersack said the commission would try to craft its new rule as narrowly as possible.

"The Commission has tried very hard for a long time to be as limited in its regulation of Internet activity as it possibly could, so there's no reason to assume that that basic orientation doesn't continue," he said.


TOPICS: Free Republic; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: 109th; campaignfinance; cfr; cfr2; commies; fec; firstamendment; freespeech; internet; mccain; weblogs; williamwallace; wonkette
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1 posted on 03/14/2005 7:45:14 PM PST by mdittmar
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To: mdittmar

ABCNBCCBSCNN are more political organizations that we are...


2 posted on 03/14/2005 7:48:05 PM PST by Libertina (Hey temporary Governor Christine Gregoire - don't get too comfortable in that mansion!)
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To: mdittmar

Who was the Republican?


3 posted on 03/14/2005 7:49:57 PM PST by aynrandfreak (If 9/11 didn't change you, you're a bad human being)
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To: mdittmar

Thomas Paine lives.


4 posted on 03/14/2005 7:52:23 PM PST by TASMANIANRED (Certified cause of Post Traumatic Redhead Syndrome)
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To: mdittmar
Lawmakers: Hands off blogs
5 posted on 03/14/2005 7:53:18 PM PST by mdittmar (May God watch over those who serve to keep us free)
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To: mdittmar

Why is this even an issue? We have freedom of speech - end of story. The FEC can shove it.


6 posted on 03/14/2005 7:55:18 PM PST by billybudd
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To: billybudd
Why is this even an issue? We have freedom of speech - end of story. The FEC can shove it.

We're supposed to have the right to bear arms - yet governments tell us what guns we can and cannot buy, and when and where we can carry them.

We're supposed to have freedom from searches without due process - yet the government can set up roadblocks to check our blood alcohol level without due process.

We're supposed to have a federal government limited by the Tenth Amendment - which is basically a dead letter unless it serves a particular pet cause by the Federalist wing of the Supreme Court - which would be fine and dandy except that same wing almost never saw a violation of the Fourth Amendment that they couldn't condone.

So don't go looking to the Constitution for your freedoms. The federal government sure as heck doesn't any longer.

7 posted on 03/14/2005 8:00:04 PM PST by dirtboy (Drooling moron since 1998...)
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To: Libertina

Websites that actively fundraise in one way or another for a candidate, as several lefty sites (KOS) did in '04, should be be governed under PAC or campaign rules.

Posting copy, discussing and analyzing politicians and campaigns is no more a political activity than going down to the local watering hole on Friday night and doing the same thing.


8 posted on 03/14/2005 8:04:17 PM PST by Bob J (RIGHTALK.com...a conservative alternative to NPR!)
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To: mdittmar

The real story is that McCain-Feingold is a joke. Repeal it.


9 posted on 03/14/2005 8:04:19 PM PST by Fenris6 (3 Purple Hearts in 4 months w/o missing a day of work? He's either John Rambo or a Fraud)
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To: Libertina


.


The man behind RATHERGATE

http://www.Freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1362451/posts


.


10 posted on 03/14/2005 8:04:54 PM PST by ALOHA RONNIE ("ALOHA RONNIE" Guyer/Veteran-"WE WERE SOLDIERS" Battle of IA DRANG-1965 http://www.lzxray.com)
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To: mdittmar

FR and other FORUMS should be treated the same as any public debate or perhaps a vigorous discussion at a coffeehouse.

Regulating forums makes about as much sense as regulating chairs for their role in political discussion.


11 posted on 03/14/2005 8:05:40 PM PST by longtermmemmory (VOTE!)
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To: Libertina

The early reports on this issue indicated the simple act of linking to a campaign site could be considered a payment in kind. Preposterous if you ask me.


12 posted on 03/14/2005 8:09:06 PM PST by Bob J (RIGHTALK.com...a conservative alternative to NPR!)
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To: billybudd
Why is this even an issue? We have freedom of speech - end of story. The FEC can shove it.

Fr-fr-from th-th-the article.

You see?

13 posted on 03/14/2005 8:09:28 PM PST by FreeReign
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To: dirtboy

Good (but depressing) post.


14 posted on 03/14/2005 8:14:36 PM PST by eddie willers
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To: mdittmar

Link

15 posted on 03/14/2005 8:20:11 PM PST by FreeReign
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To: mdittmar

IMHO the only questionable organizations are ones like moveon.org, which are sponsored by big donors like Soros.

Wonkette may be an idiot, but as far as I know she's her own idiot, without backing from the DNC or the usual suspects. FreeRepublic is a free association supported by its members.

Under the McCain-Feingold law they could probably close down moveon.org. But frankly McCain-Feingold is unconstitutional. Since SCOTUS is too ideological to admit that, congress should repeal the damnable thing. And get their act together to appoint some decent judges.


16 posted on 03/14/2005 8:21:00 PM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: mdittmar

This wouldn't affect FR, since it's not a blog.....


17 posted on 03/14/2005 8:27:33 PM PST by Brett66 (W1 W1 W1 W1 W1 W1 W1 W1)
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To: billybudd
Why is this even an issue? We have freedom of speech - end of story. The FEC can shove it.

If I was to guess .. it's because of the money George Soro's threw into Moveon.org

18 posted on 03/14/2005 8:44:52 PM PST by Mo1 (Question to the Media/Press ... Why are you hiding the Eason Jordan tapes ????)
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To: Brett66
This wouldn't affect FR, since it's not a blog.....

Depending on how they word the rules??

It sure as heck could effect FR and many other sites

19 posted on 03/14/2005 8:48:05 PM PST by Mo1 (Question to the Media/Press ... Why are you hiding the Eason Jordan tapes ????)
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To: mdittmar
I took a look at (http://wonkette.com) and was not impressed. The woman writes with a pen dipped into her own foul mouth. Based on the 'reviews' she has posted, she apparently has a penchant for penis jokes. One reviewer even called her a 'skank' and she was bragging about it? DU-h! And this sort of mean-spirited rubbish passes for humor in today's vile political climate?

Quoth the maven, nevermore!

20 posted on 03/14/2005 9:04:45 PM PST by ex-Texan (Mathew 7:1 through 6)
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To: mdittmar
if they work too closely with political campaigns by, for example, reprinting their press releases.

Who ever decided that reprinting a press release constitutes "working closely" with a campaign hasn't viewed enough threads here on Free Republic. My experience is that we are equal opportunity press-release bashers and promoters here.

It's the kind of thing our founding fathers envisioned for political debate int his country, but these gummint folks wouldn't understand that I suppose.

21 posted on 03/14/2005 9:16:36 PM PST by ElkGroveDan
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To: Cicero
IMHO the only questionable organizations are ones like moveon.org, which are sponsored by big donors like Soros. Wonkette may be an idiot, but as far as I know she's her own idiot, without backing from the DNC or the usual suspects. FreeRepublic is a free association supported by its members.

One crucial point is that Moveon.org finances TV campaign ads.

Therefore, Moveon.org clearly falls under the jurisdiction of campaign finance laws.

By contrast, no political organization or political advertisement gets a single dollar of support from Free Republic, LLC.

All Free Republic, LLC does is provide a venue for the political opinions of FR registered posters to be posted on the web. In order to read those opinions, the reader must seek them out as they would seek out a newspaper article.

That is 100% Constitutionally protected speech.

22 posted on 03/14/2005 9:39:56 PM PST by Polybius
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To: ElkGroveDan
Who ever decided that reprinting a press release constitutes "working closely" with a campaign hasn't viewed enough threads here on Free Republic.

Most of the political campaign material that is posted on Free Republic is Left-wing material since that is the material that we attack and chew to bits. :-)


23 posted on 03/14/2005 9:52:20 PM PST by Polybius
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To: Polybius

ROFL!!


24 posted on 03/14/2005 10:07:23 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach (This tagline no longer operative....floated away in the flood of 2005 ,)
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To: billybudd
We have freedom of speech
Merely an assumption.

end of story.
Not necessarily

The FEC can shove it.
I agree. McCain and Feingold can poke their CFR into that oriface they can't see, and where the sun doesn't shine.

25 posted on 03/14/2005 10:28:28 PM PST by BigSkyFreeper (You have a //cuckoo// God given right //Yeeeahrgh!!// to be an //Hello?// atheist)
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To: mdittmar
Repeal Constitutionally Forcible Rape 100%. Restore the original meaning of the First Amendment.

(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
26 posted on 03/14/2005 10:32:19 PM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: Brett66

You are right. That needs repeating. Free Republic is NOT a blog. A fact that the the MSM and even some FReepers are unaware of.


27 posted on 03/14/2005 10:39:28 PM PST by need_a_screen_name
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To: mdittmar

What is so sad is that it is the Democrats leading the fight for our freedom.

Only one Republican signer?


28 posted on 03/14/2005 10:52:18 PM PST by rwfromkansas (http://www.xanga.com/home.aspx?user=rwfromkansas)
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To: mdittmar

.... Fourteen members of the House of Representatives said blogs foster a welcome diversity of viewpoints....You Bet!!!...that's the P.C. way of saying....the blogs kick ass!


29 posted on 03/14/2005 11:13:42 PM PST by Route101
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To: mdittmar
If the FEC determines that blogs [discussion forums] are in fact political organizations,...

What a joke. FR a "political organization?" Hah! You can tell they weren't lurking during the Buchanan Wars.

30 posted on 03/14/2005 11:34:54 PM PST by Nita Nupress
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To: nutmeg

read later


31 posted on 03/14/2005 11:35:33 PM PST by nutmeg (democRATs = The Party of NO)
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To: mdittmar

Thirteen dems and 1 pubbie are pushing this.

Why are dems pushing this? I mean, of course, they stand to gain from it, but it's not really like them to take a stand so avidly in this way.


32 posted on 03/15/2005 2:30:14 AM PST by GretchenM
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To: mdittmar; Happy2BMe; devolve
bump!


33 posted on 03/15/2005 2:40:07 AM PST by MeekOneGOP (There is only one GOOD 'RAT: one that has been voted OUT of POWER !! Straight ticket GOP!)
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To: mdittmar

bump to read later


34 posted on 03/15/2005 4:22:18 AM PST by Alissa
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To: mdittmar

Dems to the rescue? File this under "Blind squirrel finds nut, film at 11."


35 posted on 03/15/2005 4:57:43 AM PST by steveegg (The secret goal of lieberals - to ensure that no future generation can possibly equal theirs.)
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To: mdittmar; Jim Robinson
If the FEC determines that blogs are in fact political organizations, they could face fines if they work too closely with political campaigns by, for example, reprinting their press releases.

What a ridiculous guideline! Any political/news discussion group is automatically going to reprint news releases and other things that come out of campaigns....both sides, as a matter of fact.

This would be bald-faced, government censorship of DISCUSSION. It would clearly be an unconstitutional act, and I will support FR if it were to fight this. Count on me for a donation if (when) the call comes.

36 posted on 03/15/2005 5:00:33 AM PST by xzins ( Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of it!)
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To: mdittmar

bttt


37 posted on 03/15/2005 5:01:24 AM PST by tutstar ( <{{--->< Impeach Judge Greer http://www.petitiononline.com/ijg520/petition.html)
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To: mdittmar

"If the FEC determines that blogs are in fact political organizations, they could face fines if they work too closely with political campaigns by, for example, reprinting their press releases."

What does this example really mean, if simply posting an article as a 'talking point' for a group makes it a PAC, then they'd better be ready to crackdown across a wide range of groups. I visit a wide range of forums and see many 'press releases' posted regarding politics and some of these groups, under the courts rulings, would have NO idea they could be considered a PAC subject to fines.

Now the example they gave was simply posting for discussion, right? How would this affect Freepers etc. wanting to organize rallys or protests through the forum...I suspect we couldn't, without risking putting the entire site at risk for fine$$$$.

What about the recent study that indicated that some 34% of the election coverage was tilted by the main stream media? Clearly the FEC has bigger fish to fry than some lowly blogger site trying to balance the view?

The governement is not defining 'blog' as wikepedia has it defined, they're using something much broader as a definition. Does anybody know how the court actually defined blog? I am suprised more Repubs. are not on board with this, as it is my humble opinion it was the blogs that got the truth out for Bush. If blogs didn't exist this last election cycle, well....


38 posted on 03/15/2005 5:07:03 AM PST by EBH (Mom said, "Don't believe everything you read in the paper.")
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To: EBH
I am suprised more Repubs. are not on board with this, as it is my humble opinion it was the blogs that got the truth out for Bush.

I think alot more D's are more familiar with the "internets" than Bush and the Republicans. RNC needs a formal training class on technology and how to communicate because they have been downright pathetic.

39 posted on 03/15/2005 5:14:18 AM PST by smith288 (The GOP, Ditech of politics... "lost another one to GOP" - Howard dean)
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To: mdittmar

At journalist conventions, they've repeatedly admitted to political favoritism, advocating for causes and wanting to 'change the world'.

Bloggers are folks that keep a public journal -- journalists.

What exactly is the issue? I see none.


40 posted on 03/15/2005 5:20:19 AM PST by polymuser
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To: mdittmar
1) The NAACP is far worse and it pays no taxes and/or fines.
2) The first Amendment guarantees this right for us.
3) The cannot stop us, we would just change the forum discussion to a label of chat rooms.
4) The backlash would destroy political careers and they know it, so it wont happen.
5) FR doesn't ask its members or nonmembers to give donations that would be transfered to either political party. The only donations I know of are related to FR's existence as a forum or to help sponsor those of us who wish to demonstrate which could be for or against either party depending on the topic at hand. On some occasions I have seen personal requests for donations too that have more to do with law than the politics that maybe involved.
6) FR hasn't been recognized as a official advocate group for either party or recognized as such with any 527 group to my knowledge. 7) FR covers many topics on what is happening in the world from sports to general support for out troops in service, the political topics are just a part of the whole website which means there isn't a complete political agenda related to the website to justify it as a 527.
41 posted on 03/15/2005 5:20:45 AM PST by TheForceOfOne
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To: smith288

As I stated, it was my opinion, not a fact. But if I hadn't found FR in the last few days of the campaign...I wouldn't have even voted (Note I live in a highly Dem. area). FR was the only place I found sufficient facts to back up my own observations.


42 posted on 03/15/2005 5:23:50 AM PST by EBH (Mom said, "Don't believe everything you read in the paper.")
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To: mdittmar
I think it is time to challenge MSM in court to pull their rights. They are no longer the press.
43 posted on 03/15/2005 5:26:15 AM PST by bmwcyle (Washington DC RINO Hunting Guide)
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To: Polybius
Most of the political campaign material that is posted on Free Republic is Left-wing material since that is the material that we attack and chew to bits. :-)

True, I find I'm much better informed on the activities of the left from reading FreeRepublic than the lefties I know who claim allegiance to NPR... still they've got all the bumperstickers. ;-)

44 posted on 03/15/2005 6:17:13 AM PST by rhombus
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To: mdittmar

Amazing. Liberals in favor of free speech. I am absolutely flabbergasted. Gobsmacked, even.


45 posted on 03/15/2005 6:24:48 AM PST by Lazamataz (Cleverly Arranging 1's And 0's Since 11110111011...)
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To: Brett66; mdittmar
This wouldn't affect FR, since it's not a blog.....

Maybe not your definition of a blog....but it can easily be defined as such.

* There's a time-stamp on each post. That's a log.

* It's on the web. It's a web-log.

It's a blog with thousands of posters instead of the two or three of iraqthemodel.com.

Don't try to hide behind a definition for protection from a law-grab. There's a section in each law called "definition" and they can write whatever they want in there.

FR is a blog.

46 posted on 03/15/2005 6:32:29 AM PST by sam_paine (X .................................)
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To: need_a_screen_name
FR is a blog.
47 posted on 03/15/2005 6:35:03 AM PST by sam_paine (X .................................)
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To: mdittmar

You have to watch this left-handed 'no law' laws.

They recently passed a 'no tax' law for interent... except voice over IP.

This was in fact NOT a 'no tax' law, but actually the FIRST TAX law for internet. Next they exempt sales tax (exempt from the 'no tax' law, i mean)... then they exempt something else..

It is easier to pass a law sying 'no taxes' (when that is what everyone wants) and then start to slowly 'exempt' things from the law you just passed.

Remember- the INCOME TAX law (consitutional ammendment) was passed as a tax on 1/2 of 1% of all income over $1million. Back in 1917 (I think that is when it was) very few people made that much- but the door was then open, and look what we have now.


48 posted on 03/15/2005 6:59:34 AM PST by Mr. K (I plan put my "Run Hillary Run" bumper sticker on the front of my car)
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To: Bob J

Correct - it is called free speech.


49 posted on 03/15/2005 7:42:48 AM PST by Libertina (Hey temporary Governor Christine Gregoire - don't get too comfortable in that mansion!)
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To: Bob J

Just the "progressives" making up rules to keep the obviously dying mainstream media hanging onto the sinking raft.


50 posted on 03/15/2005 7:44:56 AM PST by Libertina (Hey temporary Governor Christine Gregoire - don't get too comfortable in that mansion!)
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