Crucial FEC Vote for Bloggers Set for March 16

Less than a month from now, the Federal Elections Commission will make an important ruling that could muzzle political bloggers.

The FEC is set to decide on March 16 on two issues. First, whether paid internet advertising should be subject to campaign finance laws and second, whether bloggers are considered "press" like traditional print and broadcast journalists and therefore subject to campaing finance exemptions.

Under the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, or McCain-Feingold, the FEC interpreted that all internet communications were exempted from campaign finance laws, until the FEC’s interpretation was challenged by other courts. Now, the FEC has been forced to examine the issue.

The Associated Press has reported that Republican FEC Chairman Michael Toner said he favors less restrictions when it comes to the Internet rather than more. But, the decision will be rendered by the 6-member bipartisan commission.

The commission’s calender, minutes of past agendas, sunshine notices, as well as a wealth of campaign finance data is available at their website