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Monday, March 20, 2006

Bloggers push politics aside in fight against FEC

March 19, 2006 | John Reinan

This might be the first time Freepers and Kossacks have agreed on anything. From the conservative website Free Republic to the liberal Daily Kos, Internet users of all ideologies are uniting in opposition to federal regulation of political blogs.

As early as this afternoon, the Federal Election Commission will publish regulations that, for the first time, could put limits on what bloggers can do and say in support of political candidates.

The FEC is trying to define the line between offering political opinions and operating as part of a political campaign. The full commission is expected to vote Thursday on the regulations.

Meanwhile, Congress is considering two separate bills aimed at a similar goal: clarifying the role of bloggers in delivering political messages and using the Internet as a fundraising tool.

At issue is the growing power of the Internet, which has allowed activists to promote candidates and raise money for them without the kind of rules that long have governed similar activities by political parties, individual campaigns and traditional contributors.

The Internet has been exempt from campaign finance regulations. Last year, however, a federal court ruled that the Internet could no longer be excluded.

(Excerpt) Read more at startribune.com ...

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