Saturday, October 25, 2014

Democrats Push for New Heavy Regulations on Internet Postings, Drudge, and Blogs

Democrats Push for New Heavy Regulations on Internet Postings, Drudge, and Blogs
by Warner Todd Huston 25 Oct 2014, 10:05 AM PDT
As the media prepared to vacate newsrooms for the weekend, Democrats snuck in a last minute proposal that the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) be allowed to heavily regulate political content on internet sites such as Youtube, blogs, and the Drudge Report.

Obama FEC Vice Chairperson Ann M. Ravel announced late on Friday that the FEC was preparing new regulations to give itself control over videos, Internet-based political campaigns, and other content on the web. She insisted that, "A reexamination of the commission’s approach to the internet and other emerging technologies is long overdue."

This snap decision came after the FEC deadlocked 3-3 over whether or not an anti-Obama Internet campaign in Ohio had violated FEC campaign disclosure rules. The videos were placed for free on Youtube and were not paid advertising, but they also did not disclose who made them.

Until now, videos and other political content that is not posted for a fee are unregulated by the FEC. Only paid advertising is regulated under election rules. It is this that the Democrats want to change.

"FEC Chairman Lee E. Goodman, a Republican, said if regulation extends that far, then anybody who writes a political blog, runs a politically active news site, or even a chat room could be regulated," the Washington Examiner reported on October 24.

"I have been warning that my Democratic colleagues were moving to regulate media generally and the Internet specifically for almost a year now," Goodman told "And today's statement from Vice Chair Ravel confirms my warnings."

Chairperson Ravel says that it should be illegal for free Internet videos to be used for paid TV advertising. But Goodman points out that Ravel is conflating the matter, and that FEC rules already regulate that situation. TV ads are paid advertising and already fall under regulatory oversight, he said.

Goodman and the other two FEC commissioners who voted that the Ohio videos did not violate regulations lamented the decision by the chair to float oppressive new limits on political free speech on the Internet. "Regrettably, the 3-to-3 vote in this matter suggests a desire to retreat from these important protections for online political speech--a shift in course that could threaten the continued development of the Internet's virtual free marketplace of political ideas and democratic debate," they wrote.

Federal Elections Commission (FEC)
Trevor Potter was the chairman for the Federal Election Commission (FEC), a fellow at the Brookings Institution (think tank), and is the founding president & general counsel for the Campaign Legal Center.

Note: Campaign Legal Center
The Campaign Legal Center is a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) that supports strong enforcement of United States campaign finance laws.[1][2] Legal Center attorneys track and participate in a variety of cases around the country involving campaign finance law at the federal, state and local levels.[1]
The CLC's website allows users to track the activities of the Federal Election Commission, campaign finance legislation, and good-government issues such as lobbying, ethics, and redistricting reform, while its blog offers expert opinion on such matters.[3] The center also supports the need for free media access for candidates in order to dampen the need for incessant political fundraising.[4]
Trevor Potter is the Legal Center's founding President and General Counsel.[5] He served as General Counsel to John McCain's 2008 Presidential campaign (while on leave of absence from the Legal Center) and also held that position with the McCain 2000 campaign. Potter is also a practicing lawyer and Chairman of the Political Practice Group of the international law firm Caplin Drysdale.[6] J. Gerald Hebert serves as the Legal Center's Executive Director and Director of Litigation. The current policy director is Meredith McGehee, formerly Chief Lobbyist for Common Cause.[7]
Foundation to Promote Open Society was a funder for the Brookings Institution (think tank), Common Cause, and Urban Institute (think tank).
George Soros was the chairman for the Foundation to Promote Open Society, is a member of the Bretton Woods Committee, and Robert Soros’s father.
Maya MacGuineas is a member of the Bretton Woods Committee, and was a governing board member for Common Cause.
Robert Soros is George Soros’s son, and married to Melissa Soros.
Strobe Talbott is the president of the Brookings Institution (think tank), a member of the Bretton Woods Committee, and was an editor for Time magazine.  
Kate Betts is a contributing editor for Time magazine, and a friend of Melissa Soros.
Susan E. Tifft was a writer & editor for Time magazine, a public affairs director for the Urban Institute (think tank), and the press secretary for the Federal Election Commission (FEC).
Melissa Soros is married to Robert Soros, and a friend of Kate Betts.


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