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I haven't had a lot of praise for Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), but I'm making an exception today. Reid shows the first sign that the Senate may have heard the outcry from the blogosphere about the BCRA, the FEC capitulation on Shays, Meehan v. FEC, and the coming limitations on blogging. Pennywit, Demosthenes, Right-Wing Nuthouse, and Daily Kos point out a bill which Reid introduced to the Senate which exempts Internet communications from FEC regulation altogether:
Paragraph 22 of section 301 of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (2 U.S.C. 431(22)) is amended by adding at the end the following new sentence: "Such term shall not include communications over the Internet."
Expect a howl to arise from the people who have paid good money -- lots of it -- to ensure that campaign finance and speech limits get applied to everyone except the Exempt Media. However, with Reid pushing the bill, it may have a good chance of passing the Senate, especially if enough GOP senators sign on. Get the word out to your Senators as soon as possible to support this bill.
Reid has also written to Scott Thomas, chairman of the FEC, telling him that legislation affecting bloggers will not be received with favor by Congress:
Regulation of the Internet at this time, with its blogs and other novel features, would blunt its tremendous potential, discourage broad political involvement in our nation and diminish our representative democracy.
While I have a quibble with the qualifying phrase "at this time" -- as if it would be better to wait a while longer -- his accompanying legislation demonstrates his sincerity in addressing the issue. Harry Reid deserves our thanks for acting to protect free speech and open political debate on the Internet.
Don't forget to join the Online Coalition, whether you blog or just read blogs. Supporters of free speech across the political spectrum have joined by the thousands -- add your voice to those who refused to be silenced. I'd also like to thank all of you who took the time to write to your representatives to demand a free blogosphere and political debate. Your voices, as we see, have not gone unnoticed.
UPDATE: Cam Edwards warns against settling for half-measures:
McCain/Feingold is an abomination. It's a perversion of the 1st Amendment, and most bloggers know it. Sooare bloggers going to be satisfied as long as they don't have to be directly affected.
With all due respect to Captain Ed... this bill is an attempt to buy off the blogs. If you want to support legislation, try the 527 Fairness Act or the First Amendment Restoration Act.
The media didn't speak out against McCain/Feingold because they were bribed with the exemption (and millions of dollars in funding... depending on the media outlet). Will the bloggers fall silent if they get their bribe as well?
Well, only if I get millions of dollars, too. Seriously, though, Cam has a point, but that doesn't mean we can't attack this in stages. If we have to secure the freedom of the Internet first, it gives us time to continue to attack the BCRA from here. The BCRA deserves defeat, not just for its capacity to stifle bloggers, but for its insane treatment of political speech as corruption and the unconscionable erosion of the First Amendment.
Senator Reid's actions shows that he at least understands the power that we can bring to bear when we unite for a cause. We need to make sure that all of our representatives start to learn what the Exempt Media has found out the hard way: we can hold them accountable for their actions.Sphere It View blog reactions
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» Harry Reid Does Something Good from The Key Monk
Reid's bill would exempt Internet communications from the restrictions on public communications under the McCain-Feingold Free Speech Sucks And We Don't Want Any Act. . . [Read More]
Tracked on March 18, 2005 11:36 AM
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» Bribe to the Blogs from camedwards.com
Ed Morrissey from Captain's Quarters is praising Harry Reid for trying to keep the internet off limits to McCain/Feingold. And sure, it's nice. But I really hope the bloggers don't turn into the mainstream media on this issue. Remember, when... [Read More]
Tracked on March 18, 2005 9:32 PM
Tracked on March 28, 2006 6:21 AM
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