Thursday, March 10, 2005

McCain-Feingold "Clarification"

The outrage in the blogosphere has been noticed:

Senators John McCain and Russ Feingold reassured the Internet community that bloggers will not be regulated by federal campaign finance laws.

"The latest misinformation from the antireform crowd is the suggestion that our bill will require regulation of blogs and other Internet communications," they said. "This issue has nothing to with private citizens communicating on the Internet."

Uh huh. One thing Congress is really good at is drafting ambiguous legislation that can be applied by courts in ways the writers of the legislation didn't intend. Legislation gets passed and then the law of unintended consequences takes over. Look at how RICO, intended as a tool for fighting organized crime, has morphed into a law used to go after abortion protesters. With respect to the law under scrutiny here, a court has already ruled that it is applicable to more than what its primary sponsors claim.

Methinks that McCain and Feingold were taken by surprise with the shitstorm the FEC's comments generated.

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