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FEC to regulate internet activity?

By None:

Recently, a federal district court ruled that the FEC has failed to adequately regular political activity on the internet. (Shays v FEC, PDF 159 pages)

McCain-Feingold directed the FEC to write regulations relating to outside coordination with political candidates and parties. Declining to regulate, the FEC declared the net to be a "bastion of free political speech." (See an earlier P&T item, That's Right: McCain-Feingold Doesn't Apply.)

Now, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly has ruled that that's not OK. Most dramatically, she ruled that the coordination rule (or lack of one) "severely undermines" McCain-Feingold.

Of particular interest to court-watchers, however, is that she declined to specify a timeline or appoint a special master to enforce her ruling. Until new rules are issued by the FEC, most election lawyers believe that the current rules will apply. Of course, the FEC has announced that they will appeal portions of the ruling. (Read the story at MIT Technology Review.)

Here at P&T, we'll continue watching these developments - and keep you posted on all the latest rules and regs.

Posted on October 14, 2004 in
legal stuff.