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View Diary: HR 1606 pulled until next week (56 comments)

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  •  Explain: how does 1606 stop regs? (0+ / 0-)

    1606 exempts the internet from the definition of "public communication."  That's all.  There are lots of other activities that are regulated under that Act besides "public communication".

    AdamB has told us repeatedly that the FEC is under "court order" to issue regs on the internet.  Is it true that this order is specifically limited to "public communication" activities?  If so, then MAYBE 1606 overrides the court order (but maybe not).  

    Generally, if a court orders something, the order must be followed - unless Congress passes an Act specifically overruling the order.  For instance, if Congress passed an Act saying "The FEC shall not regulate the internet under any campaign finance law," that would specifically overrule the order.  But that's not what they did.  1606 will only overrule that order if it is a narrow order applying only to "public communications."  Maybe AdamB can post the order or a link to it, or answer this question.

    •  Go ahead. (0+ / 0-)

      Here's the district court's opinion.  The order was limited to the "public communications" part, but the drafted proposed regulations went far beyond that.  Which is why part of our formal comments to the FEC said:

      As we understood Judge Kollar-Kotellyâ€TMs opinion in Shays v. FEC, the concern was that the absence of regulations concerning coordinated expenditures on the Internet created a potential for â€oegross abuse”, thus undermining Congressional intent in passing the BCRA. However, it appears to us that the FEC has taken that narrow concern and exploded it into a mandate to regulate all aspects of political activity on the Internet. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking now makes possible everything from making group weblogs into regulated â€oepolitical committees”, to potentially imposing a â€oeblogger code of ethics” with disclosure and disclaimer requirements enforceable by law requirements otherwise unheard of for any other independent actor who deals with political campaigns), to intruding into the workplace to tell readers how much time they can spend participating in online political discussion groups.

      We believe that Judge Kollar-Kotellyâ€TMs order only requires the FEC to engage in rulemaking to prevent candidates and parties from improperly coordinating with outside groups regarding Internet communications, just as is the case in other media. The FEC should go no further. Until true harms are demonstrated, the FEC should allow the unique free market of ideas that is the Internet to regulate itself.

      •  So 1606 may not stop regulation? (0+ / 0-)

        Sounds like 1606 addresses the order if interpreted the way you argue it should be interpreted.

        But the FEC could still regulate the internet everywhere other than in the "public communications" sphere, even if 1606 passed?

        •  well . . . (0+ / 0-)

          . . . there would be no active regulatory process now, because the premise for this one would be gone.  

          The FEC delayed its vote from today until next week precisely for this reason; had the House passed 1606 today, there would be no need (and the Chairman has no desire) for the FEC to act.

          •  well, well . . . (1+ / 0-)
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            Adam, two reactions:

            1.  If HR 1606 had passed the House, I would be willing to bet that McCain or Feingold would have put a hold on it and it would never move in the Senate.  So at some point the FEC will need to issues rules or risk getting hauled by into court by the reformers.
            1.  And if Chairman Toner stops the entire rulemaking and HR 4900 is tanked, then DailyKos and many other bloggers will certainly be obligated under the law that predates BCRA to file reports with the FEC, publish their street addresses when they advocate for a candidate, etc. etc.  HR 1606 does nothing to change the rules that existed before BCRA (and that apply to bloggers today).  Only HR 4900 exempts the vast majority (if not all) bloggers from those rules.  I still simply do not understand why the leaders of the Online Coalition prefer to enact 1606 and continue to be subject to a range of FEC regulations.  No one has denied the fact that HR 4900 provides much more protection than 1606, and no one has explained why bloggers are fighting so hard to achieve less protection.


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