Monday, March 14, 2005

I'm not a political organization

And that's why the Federal Election Commission shouldn't get to regulate my blog. The question of blogs' status under the McCain-Feingold campaign reform law arose after U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly last year struck down as too broad the FEC's 2002 decision that online activities can't be deemed "coordinated political activity." FEC Commissioner Bradley Smith compounded bloggers' worries when he said during a CNET interview earlier this month that without congressional action, commissioners could have to place a value on the "campaign assistance" provided by hyperlinks and e-mail lists offered by independent Web users.

Smith's comments seemed to be a classic example of a public official speaking without realizing the ramifications of his word choice. If anything, it appears that he would condemn such blog regulation, but 14 U.S. House members and a group called the Online Coalition have decided to pre-empt the argument anyway. As the coalition correctly notes, "Curtailing blogs and other online publications will dampen the impact of new voices in the political process and will do a disservice to the millions of voters who rely on the Web for original, insightful political commentary."

And after all, isn't my "original, insightful political commentary" what keeps you coming back for more? Well, OK, maybe it's the sporadic news updates on beavers. Just don't tell anyone.


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