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Friday, November 16, 2012
by Meg McEvoy
The California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) Dec.
13 is set to consider a proposed regulation that would require
campaigns to disclose payments to bloggers and those who post
campaign content on sites like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
Proponents of the regulation have said it will provide needed
transparency for the public about campaign-sponsored opinions
Under the current draft regulations, Cal. Code Regs. tit. 2 §
18421.5 would require that campaigns report as independent
expenditures payments to individuals who create or post campaign
content to a blog or social media site, or who create video content
to be posted online. Committees would be required to disclose
payment information with "as much specificity as possible."
Some bloggers who have criticized the proposed regulation as
overbroad say it would require committees to disclose, for example,
even when those affiliated with campaigns post advocacy messages in
their personal time. The commission is still refining the language
of the proposal to improve disclosure without overreaching, FPPC
counsel Heather M. Rowan said at a Nov. 14 meeting.
FPPC chair Ann Ravel first expressed support for blogger
disclosure rules in April. An initial proposal would have required
bloggers and other content producers to make disclosures about
payments on their sites.
After backlash from some California bloggers and speech advocacy
groups, the regulation was drafted to put the onus on campaign
committees to make the disclosures. The proposed rule would merely
require a public accounting from committees and would not require
bloggers or social media users to post notices. Disclosure
requirements in California are triggered when a campaign committee
spends $100 or more.
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