FEC off

|

The Federal Election Commission is gearing up toward a proposed rulemaking later this month (perhaps as early as Thursday) on a bunch of campaign-finance crackdowns on speech, including, some commissioners say, political weblogs. The Washington Post has a good table-setter, which A) includes the detail that one of the most zealous congressional reformistas is Connecticut Republican Christopher Shays, who was probably the single most embarrassing booby on the steroids panel; and B) has this quote:

"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," said FEC Commissioner David M. Mason, a Republican. "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."

Link via The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

NEXT: Reckless Wireless

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Holy fucking shit. I better start a crack habit ASAP.

  2. Would that include web sites like Reason?

  3. Couldn’t a political blogger simply have his site hosted somewhere outside the United States? Wouldn’t this negate any FEC regulation?

  4. Cue Joe to explain how libertarians will never be taken seriously unless they learn to respect other people’s wishes to take away their free speech…

    Or, wait, there are Republicans heavily involved. My bad. Cue Joe to explain how all the Democrats involved are being forced, forced into playing along.

  5. BRING IT ON MOTHERFUCKERS!!!

    Civil disobedience wise, I am willing to go to jail over this issue.

  6. Good man, Gary.

  7. “Couldn’t a political blogger simply have his site hosted somewhere outside the United States?”

    The FEC will just have to create a firewall to ensure that only approved overseas content is viewable within the US.

  8. As if I didn’t already feel embarassed enough coming from the Chris Dodd and Joe Lieberman state.

    I’d suggest changing our motto from “the constitution state” to “home of the most grandstanding daft cunts in congress.” I’m just not sure if “grandstanding” would fit on a license plate.

  9. Pavel,

    Try “GRNSTND.”

  10. certain legal distinctions and lines they didn’t used to have to worry about

    Translation: Like not being right-wing enough.

  11. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if Congress was relocated to, say, Alpha Centauri?

  12. I’ll be damn. The asses and elephants agree on something? I can’t get too excited though. There’s about a million political blogs for em to fuck with and we’re talking about people who cannot even agree on a Federal judge appointment. How in hell will they figure how to get the bloggers. For every one they take down a hundred more will be on their stupid butts.

  13. Gunnels,

    I’ll send you a postcard when you’re in the clink.

    When we give up all of our rights to political speech, our representatives will be pure and incorruptible. That’s right, isn’t it?

    They probably got the idea to control the internet from the Chicoms. They’ve got high economic growth so the lack of political rights is OK, isn’t it?

    Where do I sign up to join the party of the oppressors (I’m not brave like Gunnels – better to be an oppressor than oppressed).

    SP

  14. Pavel, “constitution state” heh. How ironic is that?

    There is essentially no constitution left at all. It is one thing for people with different views on interpretation to debate whether penumbras and privacy rights can be inferred, absent specific text to that effect (after all I think the 9th and 10th Amendments were hardly put there as “ink blots” or “truisms”) but when the clear, unambiguous text itself can be ignored, then we might as well admit that it’s meaningless. What else can “no law” mean – only those steeped in the ways of sophistry (i.e. law makers and lawyers) can find a way around such a clear statement of intent on the part of the framers. Where is a Justice Hugo “‘no law’ means ‘no law'” Black when you need him (at least on 1st amendment issues), “without any ‘ifs’ or ‘buts’ or ‘whereases.'”

    Justice Black’s approach is the only reasonable one given the text. The fact that the court refused to adopt it demonstrates the pointlessness of debating anything the court says in relation to the constitution. It means simply what five members say it means – there is no principle in law anymore.

    Some other choice quotes of Justice Black’s that seem particularly relevant today:

    “An unconditional right to say what one pleases about public affairs is what I consider to be the minimum guarantee of the First Amendment” (New York Times Company vs. Sullivan, 1964).

    “It is my belief that there are ‘absolutes’ in our Bill of Rights, and that they were put there on purpose by men who knew what the words meant and meant their prohibitions to be ‘absolutes.'”

    “The layman’s constitutional view is that what he likes is constitutional and that which he doesn’t like is unconstitutional” (New York Times, 26 February 1971).

    Though I’d add that layman today seems to include Congress, the Supreme Court and certainly Chris Shays.

    The only comfort I can take in all this is watching all the former supporters of CFR realize that, just like Pastor Niemoller, just because the government isn’t coming for your rights this time, doesn’t mean giving them the power to go after other’s isn’t going to come back to bite you in the ass (as well it should when you’re so cavalier with the interests of others). And since virtually everyone is on the internet and half of them have blogs, maybe, just maybe, this will start to make people think twice before so glibly accepting the attempts of government to tell others what they may or may not do or say. Well, I can dream anyway.

  15. Brian,

    Missed you at the bar. Where the hell were you? Anyway, joe showed up, told me you said he could have your beer, drank both of them and left.

  16. Because we’re censoring to protect the children, our censorship is so much better than the Brand X censorship found in, say, Cuba, China and Russia. That’s why the Cuban embargo is still in place, so we can keep their inferior censorship from mingling with ours.

    “The only comfort I can take in all this is watching all the former supporters of CFR realize that…just because the government isn’t coming for your rights this time, doesn’t mean giving them the power to go after other’s isn’t going to come back to bite you in the ass…And since virtually everyone is on the internet and half of them have blogs, maybe, just maybe, this will start to make people think twice…”

    Brian, if you think this is going to be any kind of wake-up call at all, you have much greater faith in humanity than I.

  17. zeroentitlement, no, I really don’t have any faith that this will be a wake up call unfortunately… that’s why I added that “I can dream, anyway” part.

    SPD, What!? I was there, where were you? I thought you two stood me up! And it’s one thing if joe wants to zone my property, but when he starts drinking my beer I gotta draw the line! Where is he…? 🙂

  18. Ah, but that’s a fine header, Mattie, my boy.

  19. The FEC only has the power to fine campaigns for money used however they deem inappropriate.

    Nobody’s going to jail for talking about politics online.

  20. Brian,

    joe claimed your beer was blighted and exercised his right of “eminent domain.”

    (joe, if you’re reading this — just kidding. Much love, sir.)

  21. The bottom line is, if you link to a political website while blogging, the website owner might get fined.

    It’s still an assault on free speech, as much as any of the Campaign Finance Reform does. But it’s going to affect the political parties, not individuals.

    And if you don’t like a political party, just link to it over and over again.

  22. Civil disobedience wise, I too am willing for Gary to go to jail over this issue. 🙂

  23. Yes, a fine header indeed!

    “Oh, Ted!”
    – Father Doogle

  24. Sigh.

    None of you get the game, do you? Mason is a long-time opponent of McCain-Feingold. His whole idea is to scare people into opposing it by saying that it (as interpreted by the courts) “forces” him to regulate the Internet and maybe blogs.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.