Skip to main content

The Associated Press apparently asked Rep. Stephanie Herseth (D-SD) about her vote in favor of the Online Freedom of Speech Act.  

Her quote -- "We've seen a lot of activity on the Internet that I think has actually been good for the public discourse and question the FEC's ability to regulate that in an effective way and not stifle the type of discourse and the type of activity that allows candidates who don't have access to large major donors or the interest groups that are so much a part of modern-day campaigning to be more active as candidates or political participants."

At least some Democrats get it (but note that they're characterizing her vote in favor as "split[ting] with Democrats."  Ugh).  Full story after the jump...

Herseth splits with Democrats on online exemption vote
DENNIS GALE
Associated Press

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - Rep. Stephanie Herseth split from most of her fellow Democrats Wednesday when she voted for a bill that would have excluded blogs, e-mails and other Internet communications from Federal Election Commission regulation.

The bill, entitled the Online Freedom of Speech Act, attracted 225 votes in the House. That was 47 votes short of the two-thirds majority needed under a procedure that limited debate time and allowed no amendments.

Herseth and 45 other Democrats joined 179 Republicans supporting the measure. Among the "no" votes were 143 Democrats, 38 Republicans and one independent.

Last year, a federal judge told the FEC to draw up regulations that would extend federal campaign finance and spending limits to the Web. The measure that failed on Wednesday would have exempted Internet communications.

In Washington, political observers said the House vote, in effect, clears the way for the FEC to move ahead with court-mandated rule-making to govern political speech and campaign spending on the Internet.

Herseth said the campaign finance reform measure that passed before she was elected never was intended to regulate activity on the Internet.

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada has introduced a companion bill, but the Senate has yet to consider it. Reid's bill was sent to the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration in March.

Herseth said, "We've seen a lot of activity on the Internet that I think has actually been good for the public discourse and question the FEC's ability to regulate that in an effective way and not stifle the type of discourse and the type of activity that allows candidates who don't have access to large major donors or the interest groups that are so much a part of modern-day campaigning to be more active as candidates or political participants."

Later, some kind of legislation might be needed regulating that activity, "particularly as it relates to campaign financing," she said.

On the House floor, opponents said that under the measure, people would not know whether Internet campaign ads were being financed by secret soft money, a term referring to funds not regulated by election laws.

Opponents also said the one-sentence bill was too broad and would invite corrupt activities online.

In an editorial this week, The New York Times said the bill "uses freedom of speech as a fig leaf, pasted on in the guise of defending political bloggers from government censorship. In fact, bloggers face no such threat under the existing campaign law."

The House bill's sponsor, Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, said the federal government should not restrain the Internet, which has brought more Americans into the political process. He called the Internet "the new town square."

Steve Sibson of Mitchell, who writes the conservative blog "Sibby Online," said those intent on getting around any FEC rules would find a way to do so.

"All it does is restrict the good guys, and the bad guys still find ways to be bad guys," he said in an interview.

Sibson said the FEC is trying to tell bloggers that it doesn't want to restrict their speech but rather whether they're affiliated with or paid by political forces.

"What we want is to be treated the same as the media," he said. "We want the same media exemptions that they enjoy."

Bloggers don't get paid for what they do, said Sibson, an accountant. But it would be nobody's business if somebody were paying him, he said.

"But if somebody does want to pay us and compensate us for our efforts, and then all of a sudden we have to comply with a bunch of rules. ... That I'm starting to have a problem with."

Jon Lauck, who was a South Dakota State University history professor, received $27,000 as a research consultant from John Thune's campaign when the Republican was looking to oust Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle.

Lauck's "Daschle v. Thune" blog scrutinized Daschle and his voting record throughout the campaign.

Lauck has said many people knew he was a paid consultant to Thune's campaign, but he didn't believe he had to post any "flashing banner" on his site.

Lauck now works as a senior adviser to Thune in Sioux Falls.

Originally posted to sdindc on Thu Nov 03, 2005 at 02:59 PM PST.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Stephanie Herseth (none)
    So that makes at least 2 of the Dems elected in special elections to have voted in favor.

    Evan Bayh 2008
    Miller for KY Governor 2007
    http://kydem.blogspot.com

    by dsolzman on Thu Nov 03, 2005 at 03:06:03 PM PST

  •  By the way... (none)
    I posted on the role that our party's reliance on special interest groups, rather than a real vision lead to this debacle earlier if you're interested.

    It is nice to see the candidates supported by dKos recognizing that there is a difference between a PAC and a blog.

  •  Ok, maybe I missed it.... (none)
    or meybe I don't understand, but if online contributions were unregulated, what would stop any candidate (or EVERY candidate) from laundering all of their contributions through the web?
    •  HR 1606 (none)
      Would not affect contribution limits at all.  
    •  They are regulated... (none)
      All online contributions are regulated now, and will continue to be.  Every dime a campaign raises is regulated.

      This legislation intends to prevent non-candidates (like Kos, Jermone, etc) who have a website that advocates for certain candidates to win from being regulated by the FEC.

      If the pro-blog regulation crowd gets its way, and calls to elect or defeat a candidate on a private website are treated like a typical campaign commercial, it would result in major changes.  For example, any communications deemed to be "issue advocacy" would be barred from being printed 30 days before an election.  And every contribution and expenditure to the blog would be regulated by the FEC.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site