Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Reviewing the 2006 FEC rules for bloggers

I’ve discussed the concerns in the past over personal blogging about political candidates or even issues and some speculative concerns before on whether that could run afoul of campaign finance reform rules and laws.
I did find a detailed page on the issue by Electronic Frontier Foundation recently.  I don’t know why I didn’t find it before.  Back on July 27, 2007, I had written a major blog post on how this issue accidentally, by coincidence, filtered into a major incident when I was working as a substitute teacher in northern Virginia. Here is the link
The basic question: “Is it true that FEC rules from 2006 limit how I can blog about politics”.  The short answer is a “No, but …”    (Parents love this.)  There is a little bit of equivocation if the blogging leads to donations, maybe, or “campaign blogs”.   But in 2004 and 2005 there had been some scare talk on this, and the FEC didn’t “get around” to narrowing its administrative law implementation of court rulings about the 2002 law until it learned there was a lot of confusion, in early 2006.  My incident had already happened (in late 2005).

There is a general impression that Citizen’s United and then McCuthceon weighed in on this (2010 and 2014), maybe with respect to non-connected PAC’s.  But most of the law was set up in 2006.
The video above mentions speculative concerns about blogs that act as “newspapers”. Apparently DailyKos had raised these issues. 

It is true that, in today’s polarized political climate, the political Left is more combative in its determination to defend the interests of oppressed “groups” than are conservatives (except for a small fringe on the alt-right) and views “gratuitous” speech about “personal responsibility” by more fortunate individuals as kind of bullying of their members.  This pressure is influencing tech companies, especially overseas, beyond the concepts of US law.   Patronage sites have drawn the most controversy recent, but that could spread to all sites where material is “free”.

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