June 29, 2005 9:11 AM PDT

Election-law crackdown should wait, Feds told

WASHINGTON--Witnesses testifying before the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday said campaign finance rules should not be extended to the Internet until there's actual evidence of online corruption or abuses.

Kicking off the second day of FEC hearings, three attorneys voiced reservations about the 47 pages of preliminary FEC rules. Crafted in response to a court order, the rules address a medley of campaign finance topics related to the Internet, including paid advertisements, bulk e-mail and political activity on workplace computers.

Robert Bauer, an election law lawyer with Democratic clients, cautioned the commission against basing the rules on "anxiety-producing hypotheticals."

"There really is no clamor out there for the commission to wade in certain areas the draft suggests it might," said Larry Gold, general counsel for the AFL-CIO.

Debate also swirled around the FEC's proposal to add Internet campaign activity to a list of workplace "facilities" whose on-the-job use is limited to one hour per week or four hours per month.

The rules would create an "abnormal life" for employees, said Reid Alan Cox, an attorney with the Center for Individual Freedom, a free-market advocacy group: "A lot of us work at all hours of the day, and it is very useful to be able to use the computers at work for our personal work as well."

Another panelist hammered the proposed rules as an attack on First Amendment freedoms. Speaking on behalf of the conservative Web site FreeRepublic.com, Kristinn Taylor evoked the Chinese government's requirement that Internet sites and cafes register themselves with the government: "Surely, the commission does not want to be known as the agency that followed the lead of the communists in China by restricting political speech on the Internet."

FEC Commissioner Danny McDonald offered a response to Taylor's fears: "We're not responsible for World War II either. We're just trying to get at a very narrow area."

On Tuesday three panels of witnesses from both major parties aired their gripes and suggestions before the FEC.

The hearings are scheduled to stretch into Wednesday afternoon.

CNET News.com's Declan McCullagh contributed to this report.

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Communists?
"Surely, the commission does not want to be known as the agency that followed the lead of the communists in China by restricting political speech on the Internet."

First of all Chinas goverment is not communist. Its economic system is. Its government is totalitarian and its the government that is restricting political speech.

I hate when people cant even get simple facts straight.

China is a Communist Totalitarian State while the US is a Capitalist Democracy.

Calling it Communist China is like calling the US Capitalist America.

It says nothing about the government and mearly serves to slander a perfectly viable and (in many ways) superior economic system where resources are distributed evenly among the people, ensuring everyone has their basic needs fulfilled (food, shelter) rather than horded by the few rich and powerful while everyone else is left to live in poverty, starve or even die without a second thought.
Posted by Fray9 (547 comments )
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Communists?
"Surely, the commission does not want to be known as the agency that followed the lead of the communists in China by restricting political speech on the Internet."

First of all Chinas goverment is not communist. Its economic system is. Its government is totalitarian and its the government that is restricting political speech.

I hate when people cant even get simple facts straight.

China is a Communist Totalitarian State while the US is a Capitalist Democracy.

Calling it Communist China is like calling the US Capitalist America.

It says nothing about the government and mearly serves to slander a perfectly viable and (in many ways) superior economic system where resources are distributed evenly among the people, ensuring everyone has their basic needs fulfilled (food, shelter) rather than horded by the few rich and powerful while everyone else is left to live in poverty, starve or even die without a second thought.
Posted by Fray9 (547 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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