This Friday is a very big day for free speech. It is the day in which the Federal Elections Commission once again addresses regulation of political content on the internet. The Washington Examiner tells us:
Claiming that thousands of public comments condemning “dark money” in politics can’t be ignored, the Democrat-chaired Federal Election Commission on Wednesday appeared ready to open the door to new regulations on donors, bloggers and others who use the Internet to influence policy and campaigns.
During a broad FEC hearing to discuss a recent Supreme Court decision that eliminated some donor limits, proponents encouraged the agency to draw up new funding disclosure rules and require even third-party internet-based groups to reveal donors, a move that would extinguish a 2006 decision to keep the agency’s hands off the Internet
It was a close vote, 3-3, back in October. The Washington Times reminds us of Democrat Ann Ravel’s plans to govern political content on the internet, including blogging and other forms of expression:
While all three GOP-backed members voted against restrictions, they were opposed by the three Democratic-backed members, including FEC Vice Chair Ann M. Ravel, who said she will lead a push next year to try to come up with new rules governing political speech on the Internet.
It would mark a major reversal for the commission, which for nearly a decade has protected the ability of individuals and interest groups to take to engage in a robust political conversation on the Internet without having to worry about registering with the government or keeping and reporting records of their expenses.
One should be most alarmed at handing ANY administration or entity of government the kind of power being considered here. To consider giving such power to THIS administration is akin to willfully loading the Bill of Rights into a shredder. Republican Chairman Lee Goodman summed up perfectly the impact of such an intrusion by the Federal Government back in October:
FEC Chairman Lee E. Goodman said what Ms. Ravel is proposing would require a massive bureaucracy digging into the corners of the web to police what’s posted about politics.
“I cannot imagine a regulatory regime that would put government censors on the Internet daily, culling YouTube video posts for violations of law — nothing short of a Chinese censorship board,” Mr. Goodman said.
One can wager that the objectivity of such government censorship will be on par with that of the IRS in deciding tax status of PACs, the EPA in approving or denying construction of nuclear plants, and the Justice Department in dealing with cases involving black perpetrators.
If you really believe that the push to designate broadband wireless networks as a Public Utility under Title II is really about “net neutrality” and is unrelated to the clearly-stated desire by Democrats for regulation (read: censorship) of Constitutionally-protected free speech by political opponents, you can drive to Brooklyn and walk around on the bridge you just bought. Or you can recite a thousand times: