FEC Advisory Opinion 2005-16

Election Law blog reports that “the FEC approved by a 5-0 vote Advisory Opinion 2005-16.

The opinion gives an election-related website (or blog) with a definite partisan position the ability to claim the same exemption from certain campaign finance laws that the mainstream press may claim when reporting or editorializing on election-related issues.

Significant FEC Advisory Opinion Gives Breathing Room for Election-Related Blogging, For Now,” Election Law, November 18, 2005

Fired Up! LLC, a for-profit entity formed in Missouri that owns and operates Internet websites, sought the Commission’s opinion on whether the costs of the materials published on its websites are covered by the press exemption and thus would not be considered contributions or expenditures under the Act. The draft Opinion concluded that the press exemption would apply.

Summary of 11/17/05 FEC Meeting,” More Soft Money Hard Law, November 17, 2005

This is a tremendous victory for online free speech and will impact on the current debate in Congress. Kudos to Marc Elias and Brian Svoboda of the Perkins Coie law firm who are responsible, as well as the five FEC Commissioners who understood that neither the First Amendment, the statutes nor common sense could tolerate a different result.

FEC: Blogs Are As Much “Press” As Everyone Else,” RedState.org, November 17, 2005

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