WWW Opinion Times

Thursday, June 02, 2005

FEC v. Bloggers: Regulation Under Current Law Appropriate

La Shawn Barber stepped out on a limb by saying that bloggers who are paid by political organizations should be regulated per recommended FEC guidelines. I agree with her. The current campaign finance law would apply in such circumstance.

But McCain Feingold needs to be reformed. We wrongly got into a tizzy after the Nixon administration when massive gifts were given to his campaign which could not be traced. The problems could have been resolved if we had moved to a full-disclosure system with unlimited gifts. That is the type of reform I propose.

Individuals should have the ability to give unlimited cash and in-kind donations to any federal candidate. Businesses should be limited nationally to $25,000 donations per candidate. Allow PAC's to take unlimited donations from individuals with businesses and other organizations totally restricted from giving to them. All donations (cash and in-kind) should be given with full disclosure. Any organization which breaks the disclosure laws with malice should be subject to criminal penalties including jail time.

Open the system, but make it transparent to all. Then free speech will once again become king and politicians can be held fully accountable to the associations they make.
REGARDING THE FULL DISCLOSURE ISSUE: An article in the Denver Post highlights the amount of money quickly raised by Focus on the Family Action. They noted that such organizations do not have the same disclosure requirements as those regulated by the FEC--i.e. PAC's and 527's)--, and stated that some believe they should be required to provide disclosure. This is not the sort of thing I am talking about above. Remove limits from candidate's and Party organizations with full disclosure there. Maintain 501 c(3) and 501 c(4) designations with the current rules in place and allow PAC's and 527's to operate with limited donations and full disclosure.