Editor's note: The rules officially took effect on May 12, 2006.
WASHINGTON — The Federal Election Commission has released proposed new rules that would leave almost all Internet political activity unregulated.
The proposal would, however, require paid advertisements for federal
candidates on the Internet to be paid for with money regulated by federal
There has been an explosion of political activity on the Internet and
political bloggers who offer diverse views say they should be free of government
In a summary of the March 24 proposal, the FEC said the rules "are intended
to ensure that political committees properly finance and disclose their Internet
communications, without impeding individual citizens from using the Internet to
speak freely regarding candidates and elections."
The proposal covers paid Internet advertising placed on another person's Web
site, but does not encompass any other form of Internet communications.
A recent federal court decision on campaign-finance law held that the
previous definition of "public communication" impermissibly excluded all
The federal court instructed the six-member FEC to draw up regulations that
would extend the nation's campaign-finance and spending limits to the Web.
Last year, bloggers told the Committee on House Administration that
regulations encompassing the Internet, even ones just on advertising, would have
a chilling effect on free speech.