Senators John McCain & Russ Feingold make an appearance to try to calm fears that their “reform” will silence blogs. RedState fisks it.
FEC commissioner Ellen Weintraub tells bloggers to “chill out,” but fails to address the slippery slope of in-kind contributions. Jerome Armstrong points out that she’s not coming clean. Weintraub says this:
It would be ironic indeed if in the name of campaign finance reform, we were to try to squelch inexpensive on-line grassroots political rabble-rousing.
Indeed it’s ironic, but that’s what is at stake when the reform makes the leap from money to in-kind contributions.
The issue isn’t so much about bloggers freedom to speak (or write), but rather whether that speech is subject to the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA). Nothing McCain, Feingold, or Weintraub said today indicates that bloggers and other online journalists will be getting a media exemption. Short of that exemption, everything else is subject to the newly undefined BCRA rules for the internet. It’s the rewriting of those rules – which have now been voided by the court – that are up for debate.
McCain, Feingold, Weintraub, et.all say, “Trust us.”
The oft derided phrase, “We’re from the government; we’re here to help” comes to mind…
Update: Apparently Senator McCain has found a loophole to his own reform law.
WASHINGTON (AP) — A senator promotes a government policy sought by a corporation while a tax-exempt group closely tied to him solicits and gets $200,000 from the same company.
Campaign finance watchdogs say that creates the appearance of a conflict of interest.
To their surprise, the senator is Arizona Republican John McCain, whom they usually praise for advocating campaign finance restrictions.
Courtesy Chris Muir’s Day by Day