Unanimous FEC to push for Internet regulation

Originally posted at Washington Examiner

In a major shift, Republicans on the Federal Election Commission plan to join Democrats Thursday in calling for new Internet regulations on paid digital political ads.

In a statement issued late Wednesday, the three GOP members cited the “thousands of comments” from the public calling for new disclosure rules in light of concerns Russian activists used Internet posts on Facebook to try to influence the 2016 presidential elections.

“We hereby move to direct the Office of General Counsel to draft a notice of proposed rulemaking, as soon as is practicable, that proposes revisions to commission rules governing disclaimers on paid Internet and digital communications,” said the three, Vice Chair Caroline C. Hunter, Matthew S. Petersen, and Lee E. Goodman.

They called for a public hearing before any changes would take place.

The support for new disclosure on paid political communications on the Internet fell short of more liberal calls for regulation on non-paid ads and political communications posted on websites like Facebook and Twitter.

Still, it is a victory for Democratic Commissioner Ellen Weintraub who has been pushing for regulations. She issued a note Wednesday saying that she would introduce a new regulation at Thursday’s meeting. In a separate note, FEC Chairman Steven T. Walther said he would move on the issue Thursday and called on Congress to consider new Internet laws.

Former FEC Chairwoman Ann Ravel, who has pushed for sweeping regulations, even on news sites, was unimpressed with the GOP move, tweeting, “This is solely to put disclaimers on the ads. It is not a particularly robust response to the problem of foreign money paying for campaign messages.”

Augustus Invictus
An attorney, writer, and political activist in Orlando, Florida, Augustus Invictus is best known as a radical philosopher and social critic. Invictus is a member of the right-wing of the Libertarian Party. He ran for the United States Senate in Florida as a Libertarian in 2016 and formerly served as Chair of the Libertarian party of Orange County.

Invictus earned his B.A. in Philosophy at the University of South Florida in Tampa and his J.D. at DePaul University College of Law in Chicago. Returning to his hometown of Orlando, he studied leadership at Rollins Crummer Graduate School of Business and opened the law firm for which he served as Managing Partner until his retirement from law practice.

A Southerner and a father of five children, Invictus contends that revolutionary conservatism requires a shift in perspective from the exaltation of abstract ideologies to a focus on our families and communities.