Here's our advice to the Federal Election Commission regarding Internet regulations: Tread lightly. If the federal government must apply campaign-finance laws, specifically McCain-Feingold, to the Internet as a federal judge ruled last fall, it should do so with as light a touch as possible. Unfortunately, no matter what the FEC decides, there's a chance that the days of unbridled political discourse on the Internet are nearing their end.
So much for all that "make no law" stuff, I guess. John McCain should be tarred and feathered, not spoken of as a presidential timber, for the travesty he produced. On the other hand, here's some constructive advice:
In keeping with the judge's order, however, the FEC has to do something. It has asked for public comment on the proposed rules and e-mails that can be sent to email@example.com until the deadline tomorrow.
Barring a reversal of the judicial ruling, the only alternative would have to come from Congress, where there are currently bills in both chambers to exempt the Internet from FEC regulations. We encourage lawmakers to support the bills so that Internet free speech can advance unimpeded.
UPDATE: Ron Coleman points out that free speech isn't just for the Internet. And several readers not that McCain isn't solely at fault. That's true. In my speech at the Politics Online conference, I noted that in my opinion President Bush violated his oath of office by signing McCain-Feingold.