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View Diary: H.R. 4389 (67 comments)

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  •  If this bill is supposed to exempt (none)
    asking people to donate to a campaign at blogs and message-boards, why not SAY SO IN THE TEXT?

    Why make it ambiguous?

    I dislike this bill as neither here-nor-there.

    I prefer HR1606, the "Online Freedom of Speech Act,"  for clearly exempting internet activity.

    I even prefer HR 4194 which implies that only paid communication should be regulated (though it's ambiguous about whether "The Daily Kos" as a corporation would be exempt.)

    •  because . . . (none)
      . . . the FEC advisory opinions already seem to ratify that behavior, and the idea is to just add the Internet to the other media already covered.

      HR 1606 arguably exempts too much; HR 4194 would not protect online speech sufficiently.

      •  HR 4194 could be a great bill if they just changed (none)
        one word.

        Instead of "a corporation described in such section whose principal PURPOSE is operating a web log" it should be "a corporation described in such section whose principal ACTIVITY is operating a web log."

        Then the Daily Kos would clearly be exempt, though it's a corporation.  

        The purpose of Daily Kos (the purpose of anything) is debatable, but clearly the main activity of the Daily Kos is operating a web log.

        Regarding my personal online political activities, like posting at "Democratic Underground" asking people to donate to campaigns, that would clearly be exempt under 4194 even as it exists, and under 1606.

        However, 4389 would do nothing to protect that.

        You say that such protection is unnecesary because the FEC may exempt asking for donations on message-boards anyway, but I'd prefer a bill about  politics online address that issue.

        The text of 4194 is at:

        •  more would be needed (none)
          Because why limit it to "web logs" and not other forms of online speech?  And it still runs into the problem of those who would argue -- as the reformers argued before the FEC -- that such sites have a principal purpose/activity of electing Democrats, not operating a website.

          HR 4389 would protect solicitations, because it's an approved "press" activity.  As to whether a bill explicitly allowing it would be better . . . maybe.

          •  I maintain that the word "activity" (none)
            would be much better than "purpose."

            No one could sincerely argue that the main "activity" of "The Daily Kos" isn't operating a blog.

            The FEC won't pursue "The Daily Kos" is such an exemption is in law.

            "Electing Democrats" isn't an activity, it's a purpose.

            Regarding whether corporations which mostly do things online besides running a blog should be exempt, I'm neutral on that.

            •  here's what I meant . . . (none)
              . . . by non-"web log" activities -- a site that hosted podcast commentaries on politics.  Or video diaries.  Or a site like the dKosopedia.
              •  Maybe it should be changed to say (none)
                that corporations whose main activity is communicating online about government and politics are exempt, as long as they aren't paying someone else to display their message.

                What I like about HR 4194 is that it strives to exempt what people do on their own websites, but not paid messages.

                That is a good principle for balancing free speech and soft money issues.

                •  it may strive to do that . . . (none)
                  . . . but the text doesn't succeed.  And you get closer to what a better corporate exemption might look like.

                  I'm not crazy about "what people do on their own websites" as a limitation, because is a website your own?  This site, for anyone but the owners of KosMedia LLC?

                  Also, in terms of "paid messages", I'd love to see some threshold level of activity to qualify for reporting/disclosure requirements.  Someone who buys nine $30 online ads shouldn't have to file with the FEC.

                  •  Blogspot is free, and so (none)
                    it's not a paid communication, and it's free to post at "Daily Kos," and so this isn't a paid communication.  Both are exempt via HR 4194.

                    Regarding websites like dKospedia which are part of corporation, if it had to re-organize as 501(c) or just a website with no official designation instead of being part of a corporation, that wouldn't be so bad.

                    Pocasters, etc., are already covered by HR 4194 if they aren't from corporations.

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