FEC May Tighten Restrictions On Internet Political Activity
Mon Feb 14 2005 10:38:41 ET
The Federal Election Commission next month will begin looking at tightening restrictions on political activities on the Internet, ROLL CALL reports Monday.
The FEC is planning to examine the question of how Internet activities, when coordinated with candidates' campaigns, fit into the definition of 'public communications.
Specifically, the FEC is planning to examine the question of how Internet activities, when coordinated with candidates' campaigns, fit into the definition of "public communications." While coordinated communications are considered campaign contributions and therefore subject to strict contribution limits, current FEC regulations adopted in 2002 carve out an exemption for coordinated political communications that are transmitted over the Internet.
And, here's a little something that I found on this topic from OMB Watch
FEC Schedules New Rulemaking in 2005 » OMB Watch » Home » Nonprofit Issues » Elections and Issue Advocacy
Published 11/30/2004 11:32 PM
Beginning in January 2005 the Federal Election Commission (FEC) will begin an intense seven-month series of proceedings to amend rules implementing the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA) rejected by a federal court this fall, and take up new issues generated by this year's election. Among those with greatest impact on nonprofits will be expansion of regulation into Internet communications, reconsideration of the electioneering communications exemption for 501(c)(3) groups and party donations to nonprofits.
At its Nov. 18 meeting the FEC approved a schedule for the new rules along with a requirement for quick final action once public comment periods have closed. Nonprofits will be most impacted by consideration of:
- Party donations to tax-exempt organizations. The FEC staff have drafted a proposed rule for the Commissioners to consider at their Dec. 2 meeting. If the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is approved, it will be published in the Federal Register for public comment likely in January.
- Internet exclusion from rules on coordination between campaigns and outside groups and the definition of a public communication. That proceeding will begin in March 2005.
- Electioneering communications. The FEC will consider exemptions for 501(c)(3) groups and documentary ads, as well as unpaid broadcasts. The federal district court overturned the unpaid broadcast exemption, but the FEC has appealed. This proceeding will begin in June 2005.
At the FEC meeting Vice-Chair Ellen Weintraub said substantive changes in the exemption for Internet communications are likely. Some of the other issues, such as the 501(c)(3) exemption for electioneering communications, were overturned on technical grounds and may not be radically changed.
For information on the court decision being appealed see the Oct. 4 OMB Watcher. More background is also available on the FEC webpage on rulemaking proceedings.