Posts Tagged ‘campaign regulation’

San Francisco to vote on regulating blogging

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors will vote April 5 on a proposed campaign finance regulation that would define “electioneering communication” to include weblogs that receive more than 500 hits from San Francisco voters. There would be a disclosure requirement (that must be made in a 14-point typeface) and potential reporting requirements. (via Southern California Law Blog and Personal Democracy Forum).

FEC and blogs

If you happen to blog about political/campaign issues from your employer’s computer at work, watch out: you may be caught in the web of campaign-finance regulation under draft rules from the Federal Election Commission. (Eugene Volokh, Mar. 23; Ryan Sager, “Mice and Free-Speech Cookies”, New York Post, Mar. 30; Log and Line; Captain’s Quarters). For more, see Mar. 4 and Mar. 17. More: May 20.

Gee, thanks, campaign reformers

In battleground states and on cable TV “the airwaves are choked with campaign ads that are hysterically conceived and factually deceptive — much worse, if such a thing is possible, than the ads that tortured the electorate in the pre-McCain-Feingold era. And most of them — note the irony — are paid for by fat cats. The irony, of course, is lost on supporters of McCain-Feingold, who continue to insist the reform has been a success.” (Andrew Ferguson, “Soros Might Not Be What Reformers Had in Mind”, Bloomberg News, Nov. 2). (more on the law: Nov. 1, Oct. 17, Aug. 23, Jul. 20).

GOP lawyers move to shut up radio’s “John & Ken”

Only days after Democratic groups sicced lawyers on Sinclair Broadcasting for considering the airing of anti-Kerry footage, it’s the Republicans’ turn to assault unwanted speech, with the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law serving once again as a bludgeon:

In a complaint to the Federal Elections Commission, the National Republican Campaign Committee accused radio station KFI-AM (640) co-hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou of “criminal behavior” for attacking Rep. David Dreier, R-Glendora, and endorsing his Democratic opponent, Cynthia Matthews.

By criticizing Dreier’s positions on immigration, promoting a “Fire Dreier” campaign and making on-air appeals for voters to elect Matthews, the NRCC said, the hosts gave Matthews an unlawful corporate, in-kind contribution of more than $25,000.

“This behavior is illegal and must be appropriately punished,” the NRCC charged, noting violation of the law carries a penalty of fines and jail time.

(Lisa Friedman, “Action filed vs. radio hosts over talk attacks”, L.A. Daily News, Oct. 29; see Calblog, Oct. 28, and Southern California Law Blog, Oct. 30)

“Fix the McCain-Feingold law”

“Now it is official: The United States of America has a federal bureaucracy in charge of deciding who can say what about politicians during campaign season. We can argue, and people do, about whether this state of affairs is good or bad, better or worse than some alternative. What is inarguable is that America now has what amounts to a federal speech code, enforced with jail terms of up to five years.” (Jonathan Rauch, National Journal/Reason, Oct. 7). More: Columnist/blogger Dan Kennedy is troubled by efforts to charge the management of the Sinclair Broadcast Group with campaign finance violations (and maybe even subject them to criminal prosecution) for airing a documentary highly critical of Democratic candidate John Kerry (“Media Log: A Small Matter of Free Speech”, Boston Phoenix, Oct. 12). More on Sinclair and the FCC: Ron Orol, “Sinclair Uproar Threatens Purchase of TV Stations”, The Deal, Oct. 22.

Common Cause: car-dealer ads may run afoul of McCain-Feingold

The first election without the First Amendment, as Paul Jacob has called it, is getting pretty surreal: the role of money in politics hasn’t diminished, but many more of us are at risk of being exposed to harsh legal penalties for expressing our opinions. (George Will, “Campaign Cops and Car Ads”, Washington Post, Aug. 22; Paul Jacob, “With the Boss, but without the First Amendment”, syndicated/TownHall, Aug. 8; “Campaign finance” (editorial), Houston Chronicle, Aug. 16; George Will, “Speech crime in Wisconsin”, Newsweek, Aug. 16). More: Robert Samuelson, Juan Non-Volokh.

Siccing the law on Fox News

Given its role in campaign speech suppression, we’ve long associated the goo-goo group Common Cause with scary assaults on free speech, so we can’t say we’re exactly surprised at this latest: in a petition to the Federal Trade Commission, it and the leftist are alleging that the Fox News Network should be exposed to penalties for consumer fraud for using the slogan “Fair and Balanced” while repeatedly broadcasting views strenuously disapproved of by C.C. and MO.O. (Jake Coyle, “Fox News’ use of ‘Fair and Balanced’ challenged legally”, AP/San Diego Union-Tribune, Jul. 19; Charles Geraci, “Activists Ask FTC to Take Action Against Fox News”, Editor and Publisher, Jul. 19). Fox “doesn’t have the right to market its network services to prospective viewers and advertisers by masquerading as a news network,” claims former FTC chairman Michael Pertschuk, who we’re very relieved held that position way back in the Carter era rather than more recently. (Albert Eisele and Jeff Dufour, “Under the dome: ‘Fair and balanced’ fight: Lefties hit Fox with FTC petition”, The Hill, Jul. 20). No word yet on whether equally inflamed right-wingers plan to haul the New York Times off to the authorities for using the slogan “All the News That’s Fit To Print”, which is no more believable than Fox’s (via Amy Ridenour). More: Jul. 26.