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Friday, March 25, 2005

Blog Swarm Forced FEC's Would-be Political Speech Police to Back Off Aggressive First Draft

RedState's Mike Krempasky has the goods on the would-be speech police of the Federal Election Commission. Ever since GOP FEC Commissioner Brad Smith sounded the alarm about a proposed rule that would have put the commission in the business of regulating political speech on the Internet, his Democrat colleagues on the panel have been poo-pooing the suggestion as alarmist.

Democrat Commissioner Ellen Weintraub continued that theme in her opening statement for yesterday's hearing, denying that anybody at the FEC had any desire to do anything other than regulate political money.

Krempasky has proof of why it is very difficult to continue believing that Weintraub and the rest of the would-be speech police at the commission are being completely honest about their intentions with this rule-making process.

That proof is a copy of the FEC General Counsel's first draft proposed rule. After reading it, Krempasky observes:

"And now, we can prove that 1) Smith was right, and then some, 2) Had Smith not rung that bell, we may well have regretted it, 3) those on the FEC that criticized smith and told bloggers, in effect, to “chill out” weren’t being honest with us and 4) the FEC should be viewed with the highest suspicion throughout this regulatory process.
"As late as yesterday, FEC Commissioner Ellen Weintraub said at the public hearing, 'I am not aware of anyone here who views this rulemaking as a vehicle for shutting down the right on any individual to use his electronic soapboax to voice his political views.' From reading this, one has to wonder if Mrs. Weintraub even read the first draft of the rule, as provided by the FEC General Counsel’s office – on March 10th, 2005.
has received a copy of that draft (.pdf only) – the Commission’s first attempt to craft a rule. And I can say – not only was Brad Smith right about the possible problems – the first draft was worse than he predicted."

You can read Krempasky's entire report here.