John Hrabe at CalWatchdog has an update on California’s blog police:
Following widespread criticism from online pundits and free speech advocates, California’s political watchdog is backing away from a plan to require news websites and bloggers to disclose payments received from campaigns and political committees.
Ann Ravel, chairwoman of the Fair Political Practices Commission, announced earlier this month her intention to pursue regulations of bloggers that are funded to advocate for or against candidates. “Ultimately I’d like to see the FPPC require it,” Ravel declared at an April 19 campaign finance conference in Sacramento, the Orange County Register reported. After listening to bloggers’ concerns, Ravel now says that that she will be looking for other ways to inform the public about any potentially biased online sources.
The state’s top campaign regulator, who spoke to us by phone from Brazil, agreed that the Internet age changes how political information is shared and campaigns are regulated. However, she steadfastly defended the agency’s authority to regulate online political activities designed to influence California elections, even if sites are physically based out of the state.
“I believe we do have the power to go out of state,” Ravel said of online political activity intended to influence the California electorate. “If there is money being spent, no matter where that money comes from, we have the power to regulate that.”
Read Hrabe’s original article here.
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