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Do I have to file this blog with the FEC?

I was never a huge fan of campaign finance reform, but I'd always thought that its harshest critics were being a tad paranoid in their predictions of disaster. Increasingly, however, I'm beginning to believe they were right.

Check this out. A Washington judge has ruled that a talk radio discussion of a certain ballot initiative represented an "in-kind political contribution," and as such must be dutifully reported to the powers that be.

Presumably such intangibles aren't (yet) subject to contribution limits, but one suspects the only reason is pragmatic: how would one objectively assess the dollar value of said "contributions?"

Still, it raises a whole host of questions. Would the Kerry campaign have to report the endorsement of the New York Times? If a talk radio host you've never heard of says nice things about your campaign, are you still required to report it if you don't even know about it? How can one ever be sure one is reporting all intangible benefits one has received from all sources, if there is no audit trail?

These are all interesting questions, but before we invest too much energy into answering them, let's just hope some sane judge will reverse this stupidity.

(Hat tip: The Agitator)


Seems to me that many of the critics of finance reform called instead for full disclosure of contributions. I am not sure how it is a bad thing, therefore, if the law would require FULL disclosure, including in-kind speech.

It means either one of two things:
1. Those against campaign finance don't really want folks to be easily aware of who is sponsoring a candidate.
2. Speech and monetary donations really are different. While we might want full disclosure when it comes to money, we don't want it regarding speech. If that is the case, where is the free speech argument against limiting donations? After all, by this argument, they're not the same and different rules should apply.

I'm beginning to believe that sane judges are going extinct.

you will find the terrorist with-in the bush gang

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