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.