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Campaign Finance Reform: Regulating Political Communications on the Internet

Description: In October 2002, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) promulgated regulations exempting from the definition of “public communication” those communications that are made over the Internet. In response to the FEC’s final rules, the two primary House sponsors of BCRA filed suit in U.S. district court against the FEC seeking to invalidate the regulations as opening a new avenue for circumvention of federal campaign finance law. In September 2004, in Shays v. FEC, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia overturned some of the FEC’s new regulations. In response to the district court’s decision, in April 2005, the FEC published proposed new rules in order to conform to the Shays ruling. The proposed regulations reflect an attempt by the FEC to leave web logs, or “blogs,” created and wholly maintained by individuals, free of regulations under FECA, while extending limited regulation only to uses of the Internet involving substantial monetary transactions.
Date: September 20, 2005
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige & Cantor, Joseph E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department