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Political blogs escape federal scrutiny

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Internet Security Threat Report 2014

The media exemption provides that the costs associated with running a media operation are not contributions or expenditures in favor of a political candidate, as long as the operation at issue was acting as a legitimate media entity in performing the questioned activity. The FEC deemed that Daily Kos acts like the online equivalent of a newspaper or magazine by providing commentary and links to breaking news, thus its costs and activities did not amount to contributions or expenditures.

The fact that Daily Kos unabashedly advocates for the election of Democratic candidates did not deter the FEC from applying the media exemption. Just because a media entity includes biased or partisan news and commentary, the Commission stated, does not disqualify it from the press exception.

The real question is why did Bambenek, the conservative blogger, file the complaint in the first place? As a blogger himself, it seems counterproductive to bring down the weight of the FEC against Daily Kos.

Bambenek's complaint admitted that his suggestion of pulling bloggers under the auspices of the FEC carried some controversy, but he insisted on taking issue with the Daily Kos practice of supporting Democrats.

But surely, there must be some sites out there pushing for the election of Republicans that Bambenek would not want falling under the regulatory eye of the FEC. Perhaps the complaint was a tacit admission that the left-wing bloggers are having more of an impact than those on the right?

We'll know come November.

In the meantime, it's nice to see that Bambenek at least has a sense of humor about the whole thing. A poll on the front page of his blog, Part-Time Pundit, asks readers whether they believe that Daily Kos should be subject to the FEC.

Among the choice of responses, Bambenek give readers the option to request that he "[p]lease die in a fiery car crash".

He obviously wasn't kidding when he said his complaint was controversial.®

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