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March 04, 2005

FEC Commissioner Bradley Smith Interviewed on RightTalk

The interview with Insight Magazine's Paul Rodriguez (no, not that one) can be found at the top of their home page.

He's discussing the potential coming FEC crackdown on bloggers. He asks, why does the Washington Post on-line site get an exemption, but bloggers don't? And if the purpose of this law is to limit the ability of large corporations to influence elections, how does it make sense to give the enormous NYT or WP exemptions while slamming down on individual "pajama-wearing" bloggers?

PS: The link appears to be a rebroadcast, but you will probably join it in progress. It seems to just keep streaming over and over; so, if you just listen long enough, you'll get to the beginning again. It's about twenty minutes long or so.

Kinda Scary: Smith points out this problem: How does one evaluate the value of an in-kind contribution? And does one value it as to how much it costs to provide, or according to the benefit that accrues to the "donee"?

He illustrates that linking to a web-site or starting out a mass-emailing campaign might cost a blogger no more than two or three bucks for server space, but that it might be the case that that link is valued according to how much it is worth to the campaign, and he tosses out the figure "twenty or thirty thousand dollars."

Which would be a major violation. Which would subject you to major litigation and investiagation and headache and hassle and possibly big ass fines.

Now, that figure sounds pretty high, given my own paltry charges for ad-space. Still, you never know when you're going to get linked by a bunch of big bloggers, and suddenly a little post is getting read by 25,000 people (as happened to me during Rathergate... ah, memories).

So we might have a situation where getting linked by Instapundit or Powerline or LGF winds up landing you in a world of shit.

And, even worse.... lately I've gotten some hits off some very left-wing blogs, for the Jeff Gannon interview (which matter, of course, they're all still in a very big tizzy about).

Imagine getting in trouble because the Daily Kos links to your link to the RNC website, and a sudden influx of 100,000 readers means you just "contributed" over fifteen grand -- "illegally" -- to a political party.

Won't. That. Be Fun.

How to Avoid All This: Says we need Congressmen to stand up and say they didn't intend the law to be interpreted this way. And perhaps the law needs to be rewritten.

Eventually the FEC (at www.fec.gov) will put up a draft notice for proposed rule-making for comment. Those who care should offer their opposition to restrictive rules. But Smith comments that emails that just say "Keep your bleepin'-bleepin' hands off my Internet" will not be looked at and won't be helpful.

And Another Interview: This time on the Cam Edwards show; has the first half of the transcript, and promises the second half's soon.

Whoops! Disclosure Needed: Yeahp, TalkRight is one of my advertisers, as I've mentioned before. And, disclosing further, I met some of these folks down at CPAC, and we had fun talking.

And, disclosing still further, yeahp, one of these nice folks tipped me to the interview.

That said: I posted on the subject before there was any TalkRight involvement. It's interesting to me, and I'm genuinely annoyed by the whole deal. And the interview itself is interesting. So, TalkRight advertising or no TalkRight advertising, I would have linked the interview.

Or at least I think I would have. A man really loses control of himself when the prospect of crazy blog-money is dangled in front of him.

Then again, a man loses control of himself when a meatball parm sandwich is dangled in front of him, too.

Jeff Goldstein has more, and it was his post that reminded me: "Oh yeah. Disclosure. What a drag."

And I guess I should also disclose... Sarah? The original Dusty model?

My sister. Damn it all.

You have no idea of how much psychotherapy I've needed to deal with that.


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posted by Ace at 05:44 PM

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