FC: FEC weighs regulations on Internet campaigning

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Thu Mar 21 2002 - 08:52:45 PST

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       Figuring Out E-lection Reform
       By Declan McCullagh and Robert Zarate
       Print this   o   E-mail it  o   Set E-mail Alerts
       2:00 a.m. March 21, 2002 PST
       WASHINGTON -- The Federal Election Commission met Wednesday to puzzle
       out how to regulate websites and hyperlinks that endorse politicians
       seeking federal office.
       During a four-hour hearing, the FEC's six commissioners expressed
       tentative support for a set of regulations (PDF) that would control
       how individuals, corporations and labor unions may use the Internet
       for election-related purposes.
       In the nine-page proposal, published last October, the FEC suggested
       that it will be acceptable:
         * For individuals to use "equipment, software, Internet services or
           Internet domain names" to agitate for or against a candidate in a
           federal election.
         * To create hyperlinks from corporate or union websites "for no
           charge or for a nominal charge." The fine print, however, says
           that the text or images that are part of the link must follow
           existing regulations covering "express advocacy" of candidates.
         * For corporations and unions to post press releases endorsing a
           candidate on their websites.
         * Any corporation or union would be prohibited from posting "express
           advocacy materials such as banner advertisements for a candidate
           on its website."
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