PDC Temporarily Tables Blogger Lobbying Efforts

by lewwaters

washington-sealAs previously discussed at Bloggers, Are We Lobbyists, Washington State Bloggers were facing being labeled as lobbyists by the Public Disclosure Commission.

Mike Reitz, of the Evergreen Freedom Foundation attended the latest hearing of the PDC and has emailed me that this effort has been shelved for the time being.

As Mike states on his own site linked above, two commissioners desired more time to consider the guidelines proposed while two others present were ready to adopt them. A fifth commissioner was not present.

A December 5 Olympian article, PDC waits on blog ruling, delves a little deeper into the intent of the proposed guidelines. From that article we read,

“PDC staff lawyer Nancy Krier said the agency has taken a “follow-the-money” approach that applies a standard lobbying requirement — which allows a person or group to avoid registering or reporting as a lobbyist if an individual spends no more than four days in three consecutive months lobbying and does not spent more than $25.

The limit for grassroots lobbying is that organizations or individuals do not spend more than $500 in a month or $1,000 in three consecutive months.

But, Krier said low-cost Internet organizing changes the way lobbying is done and tracked. “In the new era, there is no money to follow,” Krier said.”

While most of us small-time bloggers spend little money on blogging, we do spend much more than 4 days in a 3-month period expressing our opinions and writing in support of favored candidates or measures. Most of us earn absolutely nothing for our efforts. We do it out of principle and as I have stated before, to bypass printed media that may or may not publish our letters to the editors and then, have them subjected to editing, sometimes changing the point of why we wrote.

I see this as nothing more than exercising our First Amendment right of Free Speech and since we are not paid, I see no reason the thought of regulating us is even thought of.

Well, no logical reason, anyway.

With all the left’s efforts at reinstitution of the Fairness Doctrine, actually a thinly veiled effort at stifling free speech of the right, it appears that bloggers could fall under such regulation as well in the future.

What, if any actual affect it would hold for small-time blogs, I’d just as soon not find out. I enjoy the freedom of expressing my thoughts in support or in opposition of candidates and measures. I support those blogs from the left who post in opposition to me as their expression of free speech.

So long as our printed and broadcast media continue to cover news in the slanted way they currently do, we bloggers supply the balance they refuse to.

EFF Podcast discussion on blogger lobbying.

The PDC is interested in receiving public comments on this. You can email comments to Lori Anderson at landerson@pdc.wa.gov

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