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Monday, April 04, 2005

Transcripts Available for Internet Advisory Caucus Hearing on FEC Rule

RedState's Mike Krempasky has transcripts of statements by him and others from last week's Internet Advisory Caucus hearing on the FEC's proposed rule for regulating political speech on the Internet. In addition to Mike's own statement, you will find transcripts of statements by FEC Chairman Scott Thomas, John Morris of the Center for Democracy and Technology and Mike Cornfield of the Pew Project on the Internet and American Life.

Here's a highlight from Krempasky statement:

"I think the truth here is that bloggers really represent a broad and deep cross-section of America. They’re experts, they’re doctors, they’re lawyers, they’re mechanics, they’re scientists, they’re artists, they’re musicians, they’re schoolteachers.
"And blogging is simply their hobby -- but collectively, when you put them together, they really represent something that’s truly extraordinary. And in fact, I would even go a little farther to say that bloggers are really no different than the pamphleteers that were present around the founding of this country. People using their own time, and their own money, and what meager means of communication they had, to get their opinions out there. Largely to question authority."

Don't miss the other statements, especially that of the FEC's Thomas, who said something that probably gives additional insight into his panel's ultimate motives:

"The Internet, we must all acknowledge, is not always a cost-free political tool. Reports are kind of hard to come by, but there have been reports indicating that somewhere between $15 million and $25 million dollars was spent for internet-related political advertising in 2004.
"It also has been reported that this form of advertising is growing much faster than other, traditional forms. So, there is the potential for so-called “big money” to get involved in political advertising on the Internet."

Does this mean Thomas and presumably other members of the FEC believe all political advertising is fair game for regulation? If political advertising is "bad" for the 60 days prior to an election, isn't it just as bad 61 days before? Or 91? The apparent logic behind Thomas' statement is frightening to friends of the First Amendment.

Click here to go to the transcripts.