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Monday, March 21, 2005

Memo to The Washington Post: Who is Larry Noble? Who Gave His Group $14 Million?

Read today's article by Brian Faler on the FEC/blogs controversy and you encounter the following graphs as the end:

"Some longtime FEC observers said they believed the commission would tackle a relatively narrow slate of issues.
'I don't think this is going to be as broad a rulemaking as some are threatening,' said Larry Noble, a former FEC general counsel who now runs the watchdog group Center for Responsive Politics.

"'I think what the FEC is going to focus on is political activity undertaken by campaigns, by political committees, by possibly corporations and labor unions on the Internet . . . how you regulate that, how you make sure that's reported.'
"The commission is not expected to reveal its agenda until later this month, when it releases its 'notice of proposed rulemaking.' The FEC is scheduled to then invite public comments on that draft, hold a public hearing on the proposed rules and, later this summer, vote on the final regulations."

Sounds like an informed, disinterested comment from Larry Noble, right? Here's what Faler - apparently a Post stringer - doesn't tell you - Noble's organization, which Faler calls a "watchdog group" is in fact one of the primary advocates of campaign finance reform and, according to Political Moneyline, has received more than $14 million from Pew Charitable Trusts and seven other liberal foundations to advance that cause.

Those are the foundations that anted up more than $123 million in the past decade mainly for 17 organizations, including Noble's, to "create the impression of public support" for campaign finance reform, according to former Pew program officer Sean Treglia.

In other words, Noble is anything but disinterested. He and his organization are advocates of the very legislation that caused the FEC to consider regulating political speech on the Internet. Where was the Post copy desk when Faler's piece came over from the originating desk?