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Friday, November 04, 2005

NRO Featuring Hayward Analysis of Impact of Online Freedom of Speech House Vote

Sceptic's Eye proprietor Allison Hayward, the former FEC staffer who has forgotten more about campaign finance law and the Internet than I likely will ever know, has an excellent piece on NRO's web site.

Hayward is not entirely optimistic about the results of the House defeat earlier this week of the Hensarling bill to exempt Internet political speech from campaign finance law regulation:

"While the technical reach of the bill was modest, the impact of its defeat may not be. The Federal Election Commission is currently rewriting the existing Internet rule under a court order. It may be that the FEC's approach will be modest - say, to require disclaimers on paid advertisements and spam on the Internet.
"But it is also possible that regulators will look at the bill's failure as some endorsement of the need for greater regulation, because the FEC has also opened the question of whether Internet journalists are exempt from regulation as 'press' - an issue not addressed by the legislation but one of great significance to bloggers. Certainly, the bill's passage would have preempted the legal necessity for the FEC to involve itself in Internet rulemaking."

Go here to read the full Hayward analysis.

UPDATE: 10:25 a.m.

Bruce Kesler at Democracy Project shares Hayward's frustration with the absence of concern about the campaign finance issues in many corners of the conservative movement. Me, too.

And RedState.org's Mike Krempasky says it's vital that House Members who opposed the bill be asked for on-the-record explanations for their votes. Check Mike's list and see if your representative is among the key names.