Now that the Democrats are in power, one of the things on their priority list is, how to keep it. Those of us who are keeping a watchful eye on our government are aware that the Democrats are strongly motivated to regulate conservative talk radio out of existence. I have been wondering when they might try to silence the blogosphere and what form that attack might take. I did not have to wait long.
The Washington State Public Disclosure Commission is currently examining the concept of defining and regulating bloggers as lobbyists. If you blog about a legislative session, urge readers to Email legislators to support or oppose a specific bill or rule, actively oppose or campaign for specific candidates, you may be engaging in reportable activities. Among the questions currently being discussed;
-Are expenditures related to lobbying emails to legislators concerning possible legislation, or lobbying emails to state agencies concerning possible rules, reportable?
-Are expenditures related to grassroots lobbying directed to the public via email reportable?
-Are websites established to provide lobbying information, and to encourage others to lobby for or against a particular bill or rule engaged in a reportable activity?
-Is staff time and other expenditures for lobbying websites (creation, maintenance, etc.) reportable? If so, what else is reportable?
Lobbying Blogs (Web logs)
-Are lobbying postings and responses on blogs reportable?
-Are funds provided to "tip jars" (donation links) on lobbying blogs reportable?
"State officials are downplaying any possible media rights conflict, pointing out that regulators have already exempted journalistic blogging from previous guidelines for online campaign activity."
With one hand they pat themselves on the back for protecting the freedom of the press clause of the First Amendment, while violating the free speech clause with the other. Typical.
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