Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Blogger Protection Act of 2008

Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) plans to introduce the Blogger Protection Act of 2008 this Thursday, April 3rd.

The bill protects bloggers from dangerous campaign finance regulations. Under the proposed law, bloggers will never 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.

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) issued regulations two years ago protecting bloggers from being hampered by these campaign finance laws. But these blogger protections are just regulatory—they are not in statute. As you 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.

Hensarling will introduce the bill on Thursday. Keep an eye on the Center for Competitive Politics for more.

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