Friday, March 11, 2005

McCain-Feingold, a not so funny joke

Ryan Sager has a good overview of the campaign finance law titled "Free Speech for Me but not for Thee" at TCS.

Consider a report just out from the folks over at Political Money Line, "Campaign Finance Reform Lobby: 1994 to 2004." Ignored by the media to date, it details how the supposedly grass-roots campaign-finance reform movement has been funded over the last decade to the tune of $140 million. Of that $140 million, the vast majority ($123 million) came not from retirees scraping together their last nickels for the cause of democracy, nor from schoolchildren collecting deposits on cans plucked from dilapidated playgrounds.

No, the money came from just eight ultra-liberal foundations (including the Ford Foundation and George Soros' Open Society Institute), the same folks who fund: the Earth Action Network, the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund, People for the American Way, Planned Parenthood, the Naderite Public Citizen Foundation and the Feminist Majority Foundation.

Sager goes on to make the connection between the law and it's intent and the attack on the freedom of bloggers to participate in election commentary and free speech. The left and the right sides of the blogger world are indeed coming together to express more and more concern for this attack with good reason. At this point it is more the right side of the aisle in this cyber world than the left but even they are coming around.

No wonder McCain-Feingold contained a "media exemption." The media -- on top of having their voices amplified when private citizens, labor unions and corporations are barred from speaking -- are relatively easy to write some checks to. (Millions of bloggers, on the other hand, might be a little harder to corral -- hence the calls for a crackdown.)

I'VE JUST SIGNED ON TO THIS BLOGOSPHERE LETTER TO THE F.E.C. on regulation of political blogs. You should too.