UPCOMING VOTE TO EXEMPT BLOGS FROM McCAIN-FEINGOLD ACT


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natedog
March 17, 2006, 03:38 AM
U.S. House Will Vote Soon On Whether To Ditch John McCain's Internet Regulations
Gun Owners of America
8001 Forbes Place, Suite 102
Springfield, VA 22151
(703)321-8585
Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The U.S. House of Representatives will vote, as early as Thursday, on legislation introduced by Texas Congressmen Jeb Hensarling and Ron Paul. This bill (H.R. 1606) will exempt the Internet from regulation under federal "electioneering" laws.

Unless the Hensarling-Paul bill is successful, many major blogs and web sites could be shut down for 60 days before any general election -- and for 30 days prior to any primary -- making it much more difficult for groups like Gun Owners of America to criticize anti-gun candidates.

How did we arrive at such a dismal state?

You may remember that, a half-decade ago, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) pushed a McCain-Feingold bill which, as enacted, prohibits organizations from engaging in major "broadcast communications" which even mention a candidate in a favorable or unfavorable light within 60 days of a general election (30 days of a primary).

Senate Republicans rolled over -- and George Bush signed the bill -- based on the assumption that the Supreme Court would surely save them from their unconstitutional legislation. But, in McConnell v. Federal Election Commission, 540 U.S. 93 (2003), the Supreme Court, by a five-to-four decision, upheld McCain-Feingold, almost in its entirely.

To its enormous credit, the conservative Federal Election Commission (FEC), in the wake of the McConnell case, moved to narrowly interpret the statute -- exempting the Internet entirely from McCain-Feingold. But in Shays v. Federal Election Commission, 337 F.Supp.2d 28 (D.C., 20004), a federal judge ordered the FEC to regulate the Internet.

The FEC is doing everything in its power to minimize the impact of the Shays ruling.

But, there is certainly a danger that, if Hensarling and Paul are unsuccessful in exempting the Internet from FEC regulation, many major blogs and web sites will be construed to be engaged in "electioneering communications" because they praise or criticize candidates. And, if this happens, they could be shut down for 60 days prior to an election -- or, at least, subject to a "gag rule" on what they are allowed to say.

ACTION: Contact your congressman. Ask him to vote for H.R. 1606, a bill to exempt the Internet from McCain-Feingold. Time is short, so please CALL rather than email your representative. (You can use the sample text below to help direct your comments.) The toll-free number to call your representative is 1-877-762-8762. If you canít get through, the Capitol Switchboard number is 202-225-3121.

----- Sample phone text -----
The U.S. House of Representatives will soon vote on H.R. 1606, a bill by introduced by Texas Congressmen Jeb Hensarling and Ron Paul to exempt the Internet from regulation under federal "electioneering" laws.

Unless the Hensarling-Paul bill is successful, many major blogs and web sites could be shut down for 60 days before any general election -- and for 30 days prior to any primary.

Please support H.R. 1606

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halfgone
March 17, 2006, 04:23 AM
Yep, called my congressman the other day about that. hopefully he'll vote that way.

He was the only congressman in my state that got an A by the gunowners association in my state (IL) so he seems like good people.

publius
March 17, 2006, 08:11 AM
I'd kind of like to see what would happen if they did try to use the law to muzzle hundreds or thousands of prominent websites for two months before an election.

I guess I might get to find out... :barf:

Has any bill introduced by Ron Paul ever passed?

Waitone
March 17, 2006, 08:46 AM
I'd rather see congress repeal McCain-Feingold rather than play on the edges. That said, what is to keep nasty bloggers from locating a server in the outer regions of Antartica. Will the US federales then prosecute the nasty blogger because he or she was an American who dared express their personal opinion. Will it be ok of a Pakistani in central Asia to open a blog and offer commentary on our election yet an American citizen in Noo Yark is prohibited.

The entire legislative package needs to be burned. :banghead: :banghead: :banghead:

geekWithA.45
March 17, 2006, 09:52 AM
Has any bill introduced by Ron Paul ever passed?

Splutter.

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As someone who vigorously excercises his first amendment online rights prior to elections, I'd most certainly like to see this pass, if only to head off uglier possibilities down the road.

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