Bloggers should log donations
During the last election, two South Dakota bloggers were paid by Sen. John Thunes campaign as he defeated former Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle. On the Democratic side, Howard Deans campaign paid Markos Moulitsas, a blogger who runs The Daily Kos blog, a consulting fee.The Thune payment came to light when the campaign filed its campaign finance reports.The Dean payments were disclosed by Moulitsas and by a former Dean campaign worker. For some, those payments are disturbing. Using a Web site to endorse or praise a candidate in exchange for money seems to be a violation of the spirit of the commissions purpose. Thats why some kind of regulationspending limits and full, repeated disclosure are what the commission uses nowis in order. "Excellent disclosure is nice but not necessarily sufficient, says Richard Hasen, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles and himself editor of the ElectionLawBlog. "If your goal is to prevent corruption and create equality, then disclosure is not enough." Whats next? A loose affiliation of bloggers and others interested in online activism is hoping to present FEC Chairman Scott Thomas with a letter outlining some of the changes they think are necessary. Its a first step in getting the commission to amend its rules for the modern, online era and an interesting coda to an election season that saw the Internet usedvoraciously by both sidesas a partisan weapon. The coalition has managed to include former Deaniac Democrats, fiercely partisan conservatives and even a Libertarian. "Its tri-partisan, quips one organizer, illustrating yet again, that politics can make strange bedfellows. eWEEK.com Technology and Politics columnist Chris Nolan spent years chronicling the excesses of the dot-com era with incisive analysis leavened with a dash of humor. Before that, she covered politics and technology in D.C. You can read her musings on politics and technology every day in her Politics from Left to Right Weblog.