FEC Won’t Regulate Political Blogging

WASHINGTON — DailyKos, an influential political Web site that serves as a virtual bulletin board for liberals, qualifies as a media entity exempt from federal campaign finance regulations, the Federal Election Commission said Tuesday.

The FEC said the Web site, operated by blogger Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, cannot be regulated as a political committee and can freely post blog entries that support candidates.

DailyKos, an influential political Web site that serves as a virtual bulletin board for liberals, qualifies as a media entity exempt from federal campaign finance regulations, the Federal Election Commission said Tuesday.

Conservative blogger John C.A. Bambenek had argued in a complaint last month that the site should comply with campaign finance laws because such entries amounted to “a gift of free advertising and candidate media services.”

The FEC disagreed.

“While the complaint asserts that DailyKos advocates for the election of Democrats for federal office, the commission has repeatedly stated that an entity that would otherwise qualify for the media exemption does not lose its eligibility because it features news or commentary lacking objectivity or expressly advocates in its editorial the election or defeat of a federal candidate,” the FEC said.

The commission also rejected a complaint by Rep. Mary Bono, R-Calif., alleging that her 2006 Democratic opponent, David Roth, coordinated efforts with a blogger to advocate her defeat in the November 2006 general election. Bono won.

The FEC said the blogger, Michael L. Grace, acted in the capacity of a volunteer and his blogging efforts did not constitute an “in-kind service” subject to financial disclosure rules.

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Author: Stephen G. Barr, Group Publisher

Author, Syndicated Columnist, Editor In-Chief and Group Publisher at SGB Media Group, a social media marketing firm specializing in digital media content production, publishing, affiliate marketing, public relations and advertising. Over 25 years experience in retailing, advertising, website & online forum development, niche social networking, affiliate marketing, search optimization, branding and identity, site location, non-profit fund raising. Event planning, promotion, production and MC/Host at public events. Author, Editor & Publisher of 35 syndicated, digital publications utilizing multiple digital distribution channels in conjunction with launching and administrating national advertising campaigns for major Fortune 500 advertisers in partnership with Google, Ning, Facebook, Myspace, Yahoo, DoubleClick, LinkShare, PepperJam and other industry leading third party affiliate networks. Product development team member from conception to launch on many websites, tangible goods and organizational structure for start ups. Specialties: Public relations, retailing, advertising, website & online forum development, niche social networking, blogging, email campaigns, affiliate/performance marketing, search optimization, branding and identity, site location, event production & promotion, non-profit fund raising and tasteful, responsible adult content publishing. An internationally recognized and read social media columnist & pundit on The Examiner, Associate Content, Vator.tv, X-Biz.net and Technorati and his own affiliated sites.

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