” The FEC deadlocked in a crucial Internet campaign speech vote announced Friday, leaving online political blogging and videos free of many of the reporting requirements attached to broadcast ads — for now.
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 government 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.
Ms. Ravel said she fears that in trying to keep the Internet open for bloggers, they’ve instead created a loophole for major political players to escape some scrutiny.
“ Some of my colleagues seem to believe that the same political message that would require disclosure if run on television should be categorically exempt from the same requirements when placed in the Internet alone,” said FEC Vice Chair Ann M. Ravel in a statement. “As a matter of policy, this simply does not make sense.”
She said the FEC should no longer “turn a blind eye to the Internet’s growing force in the political arena,” and she vowed to force a conversation next year on what changes to make.
The three Republican-backed commissioners, though, said in a joint statement that Ms. Ravel’s plans would stifle what’s become the “virtual free marketplace of political ideas and democratic debate.”