Wake-up call! FEC Chairwoman reintroduces plans to regulate political news sites

Is your Facebook account FEC-compliant?

If Federal Election Commission Chairwoman Ann Ravel has her way, that may actually become a serious concern.

Ravel renewed the prospect of regulating political activity on the Internet in a speech she gave on campaign finance reform in New York last week, according to the Washington Examiner.

While discussing election regulations in “traditional media,” Ravel argued that the FEC should produce “thoughtful policy” toward regulating and restricting political activity online, adding that she was disappointed by the FEC’s failed attempt to pass similar regulations in May.

Describing opposition to her previous regulatory plans as “threatening misogynist responses,” Ravel argued that websites such as Google, Facebook, and even politically active news sites such as the Drudge Report should be regulated and monitored by the FEC.

“It would be important for us to talk to technologists, talk to others in the community, and come up with thoughtful policy about the Internet and other technological advances that are being utilized for essentially campaign finance purposes,” she said, according to the Examiner.

Speaking at a day-long conference hosted by the Brennan Center for Justice, the New York City Campaign Finance Board, and the Committee for Economic Development, Ravel said that “new media” in particular should be scrutinized for political activities.

“It would be under the purview of the FEC to look at some of the issues that arise in new media and the impact of new media, in particular with respect to disclosure and ensuring that there is no corporate contributions,” she said.

Free speech apparently shouldn’t be quite so free, according to the chairwoman of the FEC. Maybe someone should direct her to a website with the First Amendment on it.

Michael Schaus


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