We were warned that the Federal Election Commission was going to attack conservatives on the internet. As I wrote back in May, whether writing for my personal blog or writing here, I don’t have to hide my political opinions. I can tell you who I’m voting for and who I think you should vote for. But that freedom is not a surprise. The editorial boards of the New York Times and the Washington Post also have it.
In fact, everyone should have it. It is called freedom of speech. It is one of the rights recognized and guaranteed in the First Amendment of the Constitution.
But there is a huge “carve-out” in the First Amendment. There is the idea that political campaigns must be conducted in a specific way that is properly and objectively “fair.” For this purpose we have the Federal Election Commission (the FEC).
The FEC can, unilaterally and at any time, cease to allow media to operate freely. It could require media to provide financial information just like Political Action Committees (PACs) are required to do. In fact, according to the FEC Chairman, Lee E. Goodman, members of the FEC have already tried to do that.
As I said, that was back in May. But the F.E.C. is now taking further steps according to the Washington Examiner: “Dems on FEC move to regulate Internet campaigns, blogs, Drudge.”
In a surprise move late Friday, a key Democrat on the Federal Election Commission called for burdensome new rules on Internet-based campaigning, prompting the Republican chairman to warn that Democrats want to regulate online political sites and even news media like the Drudge Report.
Democratic FEC Vice Chair Ann M. Ravel announced plans to begin the process to win regulations on Internet-based campaigns and videos, currently free from most of the FEC’s rules. “A reexamination of the commission’s approach to the internet and other emerging technologies is long over due,” she said.
The power play followed a deadlocked 3-3 vote on whether an Ohio anti-President Obama Internet campaign featuring two videos violated FEC rules when it did not report its finances or offer a disclosure on the ads. The ads were placed for free on YouTube and were not paid advertising.
Under a 2006 FEC rule, free political videos and advocacy sites have been free of regulation in a bid to boost voter participation in politics. Only Internet videos that are placed for a fee on websites, such as the Washington Examiner, are regulated just like normal TV ads.
Ravel’s statement suggests that she would regulate right-leaning groups like America Rising that posts anti-Democrat YouTube videos on its website.
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 chat room could be regulated. He added that funny internet campaigns like “Obama Girl,” and “Jib Jab” would also face regulations.
“I told you this was coming,” he told Secrets. Earlier this year he warned that Democrats on the panel were gunning for conservative Internet sites like the Drudge Report.
Ravel plans to hold meetings next year to discuss regulating the internet.
If you want proof that Liberals can’t tolerate debate, or win at it, here you go. They are quite willing to silence their own internet campaigns, if they have to, because they aren’t winning in that venue anyway. Better to obstruct the whole system and try to force people to turn to the mainstream media.
If Republicans take the Senate next month, the Democrat’s only real power will reside in the executive branch. You can expect them to use everything they have to stop Republicans from winning in 2016.