FCC ruling exempts blogs
Prominent bloggers and others have fought to ensure that Federal campaign finance regulations and restrictions weren't applied too broadly to internet communications. This ruling ensures that blogs and individuals continue to have the same freedom as newspapers and other media as they should.
The Federal Election Commission decided Monday that the nation's new campaign finance law will not apply to most political activity on the Internet.
In a 6-0 vote, the commission decided to regulate only paid political ads placed on another person's Web site.
The decision means that bloggers and online publications will not be covered by provisions of the new election law. Internet bloggers and individuals will therefore be able to use the Internet to attack or support federal candidates without running afoul of campaign spending and contribution limits.
"It's a win, win, win," Commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub said, adding that the rule would satisfy concerns of campaigns, individuals and the Internet community about whether the campaign finance law applies to Internet political activity.
The law was never intended to regulate private citizen communication on the Internet," said Commission Vice Chairman Robert D. Lenhard. "I believe that we have achieved that goal today."
Commissioners said the new rule also specifically changes several other FEC regulations to make it clear that Internet activity, such as blogging, e-mail communications and online publications, is not covered by the campaign law.
For example, the rule says individuals can use union or corporate computers or other electronic devices for political activity, as long they do it on their own time and are not coerced to engage in such activity by the union or corporation.
Bloggers would be entitled to the same exemption from the campaign finance law that newspapers and other traditional forms of media receive.
"There will be no second class citizens among members of the media," Toner said.