Friday, June 03, 2005

An Open Letter to the Federal Election Commission

To the Commissioners of the Federal Election Commission:

One of the most basic founding principles of this country was and is the right of free political speech. This possible attempt to regulate the blogs is flies directly in the face of that principle.

Consider this; The blogosphere is the electronic equivalent of the Town Square. Bloggers are those people, that in a bygone era would be upon a soap box in that town square, expressing their political beliefs. That being said, the government should no more attempt to regulate the free political speech of the bloggers, then it would have attempted to silence the citizen on that very soap box in the town square.

Having read some of the reasoning for this hearing, I have to wonder if the FEC will soon be trying to attempt to assess the worth of the campaign volunteer, who goes door-to-door handing out a candidates literature or spends time manning the phone banks. How much is a volunteer's time worth to any campaign? The FEC would not even consider assessing that volunteer's time as a campaign contribution. So why would the FEC even consider trying to assess the value of a bloggers link to a candidate's web site as a campaign contribution?

Any attempt by the FEC to regulate the political speech of any blogger is clearly a violation of the First Amendment and not at all what campaign finance reform was attempting to do.

Clearly, McCain-Feingold, was never intended to include the regulation of the free political speech of bloggers. Senators McCain and Feingold are both on the record saying this. As I see it, the Commissioners have a few paths they can go down:

1) They can table this and await legislation from the Congress clarifying the status of the blogs.
2) They can appeal the court's decision, which I believe they should have in the first place.
3) They can extend the press exemption to the blogs.
4) They can release a firestorm and put in place rules unconstitutionally regulating the rights of free speech of bloggers.

In conclusion, let me say this, if the FEC makes rules that limit my First Amendment right to express my opinion on core political issues, I will not obey those rules.


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