Why Now?
Sunday, March 06, 2005
  The FEC Threat
A lot of storage space and bandwidth has been eaten up by the supposed threat to require blogs to report links to candidates. Some have declared they would violate any such regulation, which seems rather extreme.

I would be more than happy to comply with any such regulation after I see the determined values for putting a sign in your yard, a sticker on your vehicle, wearing a t-shirt, wearing a hat, as well as posting a link.

People keep confusing the Internet with television and other broadcast media, and that's not the way it works. A Web ad has good more in common to a roadside sign than a 15 second broadcast ad. Signs on major sites/streets with a lot of traffic, like dKos/Broadway, command higher prices than those on Why Now?/County Road 10, so, the average blogger is no different than the average homeowner who puts a sign in their front yard. Bloggers generally copy ads from campaign sites, just like homeowners pick up yard signs at campaign headquarters.

That leads us to another interesting point: yard signs cost campaigns money to print and they are counted as an expense, so how does the campaign "expense" a blog ad?

What exactly is the difference between an individual who voluntarily says nice things about a candidate on the 'Net, and the individual who voluntarily walks a neighborhood and says nice things about a candidate?

Having been part of state and federal bureaucracies I would follow any requirements to the letter, doing my part to bury the FEC under an avalanche of paper from millions of bloggers. I mean, they do realize that there are millions who will be sending individual reports about their contributions of a few seconds at random intervals?

Folks, there is absolutely nothing that screws up a bureaucracy faster or more thoroughly than some smart ass following the regulations. We have computers, so paperwork is a mouse click away. It isn't a denial-of-service attack when the government requires people to submit forms.

Of course, anyone who is receiving money from a candidate should announce that fact openly, because even if it isn't a legal requirement, it is a moral requirement. Even if what you're doing is not related to blogging, your readers have a right to know.

[Edit: George wrote on this earlier at Old Fashioned Patriot]


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