Thursday, November 17, 2005

FEC rules that a blog is 'the press'

The Federal Election Commission today unanimously approved Advisory Opinion 2005-16 finding that the Fired Up! network of blogs qualifies for the so-called press exception to federal campaign finance law.

That exception says that political contributions and expenditures do not include "any cost incurred in covering or carrying a news story, commentary, or editorial by any broadcasting station ... , newspaper, magazine, or other periodical publication ... unless the facility is owned or controlled by any political party, political committee, or candidate."

In explaining its opinion, the FEC said:
"An examination of Fired Up’s websites reveals that a primary function of the websites is to provide news and information to readers through Fired Up’s commentary on, quotes from, summaries of, and hyperlinks to news articles appearing on other entities’ websites and through Fired Up’s original reporting. Fired Up retains editorial control over the content displayed on its websites, much as newspaper or magazine editors determine which news stories, commentaries, and editorials appear in their own publications. Roy Temple, acting on behalf of Fired Up, not only produces much of the content but also exercises day-to-day control over which stories are featured. Reader comments appearing on Fired Up’s websites are similar to letters to the editor and do not alter the basic function of Fired Up."

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