In a unanimous vote yesterday, the Federal Election Commission left unregulated almost all political activity on the Internet except for paid political advertisements. Campaigns buying such ads will have to use money raised under the limits of current federal campaign law...
The rules "totally exempt individuals who engage in political activity on the Internet from the restrictions of the campaign finance laws. The exemption for individual Internet activity in the final rules is categorical and unqualified," said FEC Chairman Michael E. Toner. The regulation "protects Internet activities by individuals in all forms, including e-mailing, linking, blogging, or hosting a Web site," he said.
I'm sure there will be some blogging scandals in coming election cycles, where we find out that people were getting paid to promote one candidate or another, under the table. But keeping the blogosphere as freewheeling as possible is important to the electoral process overall. If politicians gain the ability to regulate the speech of bloggers who disagree with them, we'll all be done for. Might as well move to China at that point.
Tagged as: Federal Elections Commission