In today’s podcast at 11AM Eastern, we’ll talk to Congressman Jeb Hensarling, Rep. TX, about his proposed Bloggers’ Bill of Rights, the Blogger Protection Act of 2008, which would give bloggers permanent protection from FEC campaign laws when linking to campaign Web sites or editorializing about candidates. As Bill Hobbs explains,
The FEC granted bloggers protection two years ago from regulations that potentially could have defined bloggers’ linking to a campaign Web site or editorializing about a candidate a campaign contribution or expenditure. Hensarling’s legislation would make those regulatory protections statutory.
Here’s what his office has to say on the Bill:
Two years ago, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) issued regulations that protected bloggers from being hampered by certain campaign finance laws. Under these regulations, bloggers cannot be considered to have made a contribution or expenditure on behalf of (or in opposition to) a candidate simply because they link to campaign websites or write about the positions of federal candidates. Additionally, blogs are treated as any other publication under the general media exemption from most campaign finance restrictions. Without such protections, bloggers could be subject to various limitations and reporting requirements under campaign finance law.
But these blogger protections are just regulatory—they are not in statute. As you may know, regulations can be changed without congressional action, and there’s no telling what a future FEC might decide to do. Furthermore, the FEC is currently defunct because of vacancies and a lack of quorum. Therefore, we shouldn’t put the freedom of bloggers in the regulatory hands of the FEC. Congress should protect them in law.
If Congressman Hensarling has time, we’ll also touch on the spending limit amendment.
Chat’s open at 10:45 and the call in number is (646) 652-2639. Join us!