WASHINGTON, March 17 (UPI) -- A proposal from U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, would keep Internet political speech on large, well-funded sites from being covered by campaign finance laws.
The Federal Election Commission on Thursday said it was delaying a decision on whether political weblogs should be considered "public communications" and so subject to funding limitations, The Hill, a Washington newspaper, reported. A vote on Hensarling's so-called blog bill would help the FEC in its determination.
The measure would more clearly define how the McCain-Feingold campaign finance act should be applied to on-line sites. It is supported by the better-known and larger political blogs from both the left and right, The Hill said, since it would not limit how much money could be given in support of the blogs.
An alternate bill from Reps. Tom Allen, D-Maine, and Charlie Bass, R-N.H., would allow unrestricted operations by sites that have annual expenditures of $10,000 or less, the newspaper said.
Allen told The Hill: "(Large blog sites) might well have to file, but that's the point. If the Internet becomes more important, the types of financial abuses that occurred within the campaign-finance system in general" could happen on Web sites.