California FPPC (Fair Political Practices Commission) Chairperson Ann Ravel is backing off her proposal to regulate political bloggers.
The director of California’s political watchdog agency is shelving her proposal to require bloggers to disclose payments they receive from political campaigns.
Chairwoman Ann Ravel of the Fair Political Practices Commission said she remains committed to holding public debate on mandatory disclosure with the hope that a plan could emerge in the future.
Ravel said she wants to seek voluntary disclosure by bloggers for the November election, but conceded, “I don’t think there’s going to be a large amount.”
She said she may ask the FPPC to consider requiring political candidates to publicize any money they pay to bloggers and link to that information on their websites.
Candidates already are required to disclose payments to bloggers as a campaign expenditure, but the information typically is contained in a long list of expenses and is easily overlooked by voters.
Just as I thought, the proposal has too many complications with free speech issues vs. mandatory blogger disclosure.
Voluntary disclosure will go nowhere.
Political journalists will just have to dig through the candidate’s campaign reports if they want the information.
This blogger disclosure is referring to campaign political donations.
California would push political bloggers to disclose payments they receive from campaigns under a proposal that the state Fair Political Practices Commission will consider in coming months.
In closing remarks Thursday at a Sacramento symposium on a wide range of political and campaign issues, FPPC Chairwoman Ann Ravel announced plans to seek a vote by her commission on blogger disclosure.
Details of the proposal have not yet been worked out, such as what level of payments would trigger disclosure to readers on websites where bloggers post their political or campaign-related opinions
Ravel said she initially plans to ask the FPPC to pass an advisory measure, meaning that disclosure by bloggers would be suggested but not required for the November election. Her goal for future elections is mandatory disclosure, she said.
Campaigns already must disclose expenditures to bloggers but this requirement would affect political bloggers like me. In other words, should a campaign donate say $500 to my marvelous blog for the excellent coverage that I have on California and other political matters, I would have to submit a form.
I have no problem with the disclosure, but the devil will be in the details of the rule/law.
What about advertising?
What if a political consultant donates and not the campaign? A media or communications firm?
I understand the intent of the rules and I have known of some egregious abuses AND payments to bloggers.
But, how about the mainstream media outlets and their reporters/producers? Will they have to disclose, particularly those freebee tickets to another party, political or sports event in return for coverage?
By the way, all of you POLS out there and political consultants, I WILL accept your contributions and your paid advertisements.
As always though – no quid pro quo.