Response to the FEC

The Online Coalition, put together to fight FEC restrictions to free speech rights as they apply to bloggers, has posted their official response to the FEC.  (hat tip:  Captains Quarters)

This is one of those efforts that leave me torn.  In effect, the rulemaking process is considering whether the media exemption in campaing finance laws should be extended to bloggers.  My point of view is that the media exemption should be extended to everyone.  That, 1) limits to money spent are the equivalent to limits on speech and 2) it is particularly insidious to create multiple classes of citizen, where one class of citizen (exempt media) have more political speech rights than others.

So, while I agree with their comments on blogging narrowly, I disagree when they make broader statements, like this one:

Finally, your rules should be informed by the regulatory purpose of the Federal Election Campaign Act. Your rule should address corruption, the appearance of corruption, the involvement of foreign nationals, or the use of the corporate or labor forms of organization and their "aggregations of wealth" in ways that drown out the views of others.

What does that last part I bolded mean?  Why is the Republican Party or one of George Soros's organizations proper aggregations of wealth for the political process but corporations and labor unions improper?

Anyway, campaign finance reform is one big hypocritical unconstitutional mess.  Let anyone give whatever they want to whomever with the only proviso of full disclosure over the Internet of all sources of funds.

One Comment

  1. Matt:

    I'd even limit the proviso. "Full disclosure of all sources of funds" should apply to _candidates for elective office_ ONLY. People who argue about whether the campaign finance laws should apply to bloggers have been tricked into watching the birdie. The meaningful question is why campaign finance laws apply to ANYONE whose name does not appear on a ballot.

    As much as restrictions on _actual_ campaign finance procedure tend to benefit Republicrats at the expense of third party and independent candidates, I still see much less of a problem with setting a legally higher bar for those persons actually running in elections, than with doing so for all political speech.

    I'm not part of the "1st Amendment doesn't apply to certain kinds of speech" crowd, but it is plainly obvious to anyone with any understanding whatsoever of American history that freedom of speech in this country was intended _originally_ and _primarily_ to protect political speech. The founders must be spinning in their graves that we haven't yet killed off McCain-Feingold.