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Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Brad Smith on Why Proposed FEC Regulation of Internet Political Speech is Just the First Step

FEC Commissioner Brad Smith lays it out in such plain English that any Member of Congress, newspaper editorial writer or even a college professor of political science can understand in an interview with Nick Schultz of TechCentralStation.com. Here's the money quote:

"So it's not necessary that the FEC would be setting this rule-making determined to shut down blogs before bloggers have to get concerned or before people should be concerned about their rights to participate in politics; or before people should be concerned about what effect the regulation might have on what has been a very democratizing medium.
"And what this rule making does is it sets the stage. We will have changed the presumption from the idea that the Internet is not regulated to one that it is regulated. And once we have made the presumption that it's going to be regulated, it's only a matter of time before people will find things that they think therefore ought to be regulated."

It is the same precise pattern that has been followed in the federal takeover of every major area of American economic life - Some politician comes along with a "little" proposal for a little federal aid here and just a few small implementing regs there. That opens the door. And from there it is one expansion of federal authority after another.

Read the whole Schulz interview here. Then call, email and write your congressman and senators and ask them what they are doing to stop the FEC from regulating political speech on the Internet.

Ryan Sager explains why it's not enough for the political speech police of the campaign finance reform movement that the Internet represents a virtual utopia of equal political expression.