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View Diary: Corrupt Democracy 21 (155 comments)

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  •  Not exactly what Smith said... (none)
    His arugment was that when the playing field was level, if you allowed companies to compete under the same basic rules, everyone benefits.

    We have nothing close to that situation now. Be it in the economy or campaign financing. And more regulation will just make it worse.

    •  the way I see it (none)
      the "protect the internet from the law" crowd is the one that wants more regulation... I was fine with the FEC deciding what is the press in any given media, more or less how they do now.

      I think the only reason to be very worried about this is because some blogs are for profit or have, at least, revenue streams to worry about.

      I don't begrudge them that, but then, I don't get on my moral high horse because companies are subject to careful knowledge of campain law when they seek to help a campaign.

      •  here's the thing (none)
        Up until two weeks ago, it was unclear whether the FEC was going to treat websites as press at all.  And we know that 2/5 of the current FEC is lukewarm at best on the subject, and 3-4 new commissioners are coming.  Codification via H.R. 4389 would be a nice start.

        I don't believe that "Internet exceptionalism" is generally necessary to draw the right lines here, and it has nothing to do with protecting a site's profitability.  I do think that the Internet has exposed general flaws in the independent expenditure and political committee definitions that ought to be fixed, but I'm not interested in special treatment for anyone.

        Still, pyrrho: five kids at Texas A&M want to set up a "College Station Liberals" website, generally featuring news and opinion but clearly aiming to help elect Democrats and only Democrats.  Between server time and the software they use to put together some cool anti-Bush videos, it costs them $1002 in 2006 to run the site.   Should they have to file a single page of paper with the FEC?

        •  adam (none)
          first, I'm on board for a reasonable clarification, say, setting to paper how the interpretations should work, something not overly broad.

          second, your example, I don't want to weasle out but I think I would need more information.  Further complicating this is that I don't think all the law is perfectly crafted in terms of offline regulation either.

          My answer is then based on just this, however they are treated it should be the same as if they started a small liberal paper. If they would have to file with the FEC in that case, then same with the web site, otherwise no.

          If they take paid ads, but give the same ad space to candidates... yes, that's an in-kind contribution, otoh, if they give away links on their blogroll without ever charging, that's not an in-kind contribution (or is valued at $0 at any rate) and that more or less is how I think it should work.

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