CNET: "The coming crackdown on blogging"

Declan McCullagh’s latest is an interview with Bradley Smith, a Republican FEC commissioner, about the potential effects of being forced to apply McCain-Feingold campaign donation regulations to the Internet.

Here’s the first paragraph:

“In just a few months, he warns, bloggers and news organizations could risk the wrath of the federal government if they improperly link to a campaign’s Web site. Even forwarding a political candidate’s press release to a mailing list, depending on the details, could be punished by fines.”

Apparently (perhaps because of the Talon News/GOPUSA scandal), the regulatory issue has produced a partisan split–there was a 3-3 vote to not to appeal the Internet related portion of Judge Kollar-Kotelly’s latest order. I’m not sure what the Democratic Party appointees’ rationale for this vote was (they’re not quoted), but, at least on the surface, the postulated outcome is fairly alarming… links to candidate websites being categorized as campaign donations, along with forwarding press releases to email lists (for example).

UPDATE:Ellen Weintraub, who is apparently acting as a spokesperson for the Democratic Party FEC appointees, has this to say about the issue: Bloggers, chill out already!

Thomas Leavitt