Anyone with a brain can recognize that the above headline stands in direct violation of our constitutional First Amendment rights, but Federal Election Commission Chairwoman Ann Ravel — a Democrat, in case you’re wondering — wants to do it anyway.
It started with concern over “dark money” in politics, and ended with a crusade to regulate political speech on the last truly free frontier, the Internet:
During a broad FEC hearing to discuss a recent Supreme Court decision that eliminated some donor limits, proponents encouraged the agency to draw up new funding disclosure rules and require even third-party internet-based groups to reveal donors, a move that would extinguish a 2006 decision to keep the agency’s hands off the Internet.
Noting the 32,000 public comments that came into the FEC in advance of the hearing, Democratic Commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub said, “75 percent thought that we need to do more about money in politics, particularly in the area of disclosure. And I think that’s something that we can’t ignore.”
But a former Republican FEC chairman said in his testimony that if the agency moves to regulate the Internet, including news voices like the Drudge Report as GOP commissioners have warned, many thousands more comments will flood in in opposition of regulation.
“If you produce a rule that says we are going to start regulating this stuff, including the internet and so on, I think you will see a lot more than 32,000 comments come in and I don’t think staff will analyze them and find that 75 percent are favorable to more regulation,” said Bradley Smith, now with the Center for Competitive Politics.
If Ravel gets her way, websites such as ours would be subject to regulation by the federal government — and there’s no doubt that the Democratic-controlled FEC would go out of its way to target mostly conservative outlets.
After public outcry, Ravel has since walked back comments that she wants to regulate politicking on the Internet. But, like most liberals, she’d just love to have the power to silence anyone who disagrees with her.