"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance

 and a people who mean to be their own governors

 must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."

Thursday, July 21, 2005

From Corzine Connection To Blog Regulation

Here’s a hot one from the Blogometer. Matt Stoller, a member of Senator Jon Corzine’s campaign for Governor of New Jersey, testified before the FEC on the subject of whether new rules were needed to regulate political blogging. Remember how our friends on the left thought we were making a big deal out of nothing in our post last week? (For more information see “Keep Blogs Unregulated” on the National Law Journal.)

So here we have Matt Stoller, a guy running the Corzine Connection blog, representing bloggers before the FEC – seems an odd choice, no? We were under the impression political party and candidate campaign websites were already covered under campaign finance laws, so why was Stoller among those chosen to testify on this subject? Maybe he was invited to speak on his personal experience with campaigns using bloggers. The again maybe it’s just a matter of his Corzine connection.

Anyway, here are some snips (emphasis ours) from Stoller’s FEC proposal posted on the Blogging on the President site. His ideas for regulation read like a bureaucratic nightmare and it’s unclear what Stoller means by “political actors” in need of regulation. Stoller envisions a “public database for communications” that will “unleash citizens on the problem of corruption.” Yep, that’ll do it.

Thank you for letting bloggers testify about applying campaign finance reform laws to the internet.

As the FEC Commissioners work to apply regulations to the internet to comply with campaign finance legislation, we would like to propose a way that the principles behind the campaign finance legislation - the elimination of corruption and the protection of the First Amendment - can coexist on the internet.

By slightly reinterpreting the phrase 'public communications', our proposal may also allow the FEC to reasonably and responsibly act on the Shays-Meehan lawsuit, without creating an excessively intrusive regulatory architecture.

So let's turn the problem of political corruption from money in the process around, and unleash citizens on the problem of corruption rather than just a regulatory agency. To that end, a wise and unintrusive thing the FEC could do to root out corruption in the campaign world would be to create a public database for communication by Federal political committees.

Creating a system like this will not change the amount of money in politics, but it will do something at least as important - it will change the amount of power money can buy in politics.

Because of the internet, the FEC has an added tool in its toolbox. Aside from telling organized entities what they can and can't do; the commission can now force political actors to consider whether they are willing to be held publicly accountable for their political communications.

There are logistical problems with such a system, and there will be somewhat inconvenient reporting requirements for registered political committees. For instance, web sites and blogs may attract more than 50,000 readers, or they may not (though it's worth noting that archiving these already public communications is not hard, especially if campaigns are told not to unpublish their sites or delete blog posts).

By forcing political actors to disclose not just who gives them money and what they spend it on, but also what they say, the FEC can use the internet to dramatically supplement the current regulatory architecture and better fulfill its established mission.


At 3:52 PM, Blogger Adam said...

That you do not understand Matt's proposal is not my problem, but that you don't have the faintest grasp of the facts here is.

Matt testified before the FEC
href="http://www.redstate.org/documents/kos.pdf">because he submitted
written comments and requested to testify
. Every commenter who
requested the right to testify was granted that right by the FEC.

Those written comments, as well as
href="http://www.fec.gov/pdf/nprm/internet_comm/20050628transcript_rev.doc">his oral testimony
, were in his personal capacity and not as a representative of the campaign, as he made clear (p. 139).

It had nothing to do with Corzine or anyone else for whom Matt has worked. Period.

At 3:54 PM, Blogger Adam said...


That you do not understand Matt's proposal is not my problem, but that you don't have the faintest grasp of the facts here is.

Matt testified before the FEC because he submitted written comments and requested to testify. Every commenter who requested the right to testify was granted that right by the FEC.

Those written comments, as well as his oral testimony, were in his personal capacity and not as a representative of the campaign, as he made clear (p. 139).

It had nothing to do with Corzine or anyone else for whom Matt has worked. Period.

At 4:22 PM, Blogger Enlighten said...

Oh, well if Matt says his testimony was not influenced by his roll in the Corzine campaign then it must be true.

Just like his work on ENJOYtheDRAFT.com and www.ThereIsNoCrisis.com is the gospel truth. Or when he wrote:” As far as I understand it, the civil rights movement was largely a middle class to wealthy affair. Or how about: “I was on record two years ago as saying Bush was finished.” Or maybe “And one thing that makes me angry is people who don't deserve immense amounts of wealth and power having it heaped upon them, to both our and their detriment.”

We think Matt will say whatever he believes to be politically expedient.


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