Elections & Political Free Speech Safe in 2006

Last week, I had reported that the US Federal Election Commission was about to issue new regulations for political speech during an election. This regulation could have wide-sweeping impact on bloggers and blogging around political topics this fall.

Wired Magazine covers the 6-0 vote, which comes down resoundingly on the side of free speech:

The Federal Election Commission decided Monday that the nation’s new campaign finance law will not apply to most political activity on the internet.

In a 6-0 vote, the commission decided to regulate only paid political ads placed on another person’s website.

The decision means that bloggers and online publications will not be covered by provisions of the new election law. Internet bloggers and individuals will therefore be able to use the internet to attack or support federal candidates without running afoul of campaign spending and contribution limits.

“It’s a win, win, win,” Commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub said, adding that the rule would satisfy concerns of campaigns, individuals and the internet community about whether the campaign finance law applies to online political activity.

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