Yelling MOVIE In a Crowded Fire House

I have my doubts about this. Yes, it is a serious issue, but I think the alarm is sounding a bit louder than reality due to the nature of the debate. It’s a tactic pure and simple, and I think Commissioner Smith is playing it up – TO THE BLOGOSPHERE. He’d like nothing more than for bloggers to FREAK OUT over his little interview on CNet and create havoc. Then the FEC will be forced to bow to the pressure and continue the Internet exemption portion of the 2002 campaign finance law. He’s no doubt seen the effect (Rathergate), and I’m sure he’s counting on his words to light a fire under…well, you know what I mean.

Will bloggers take the bait and crank up the volume?


And that’s a good thing.

UPDATE: In 1999, the Brennen Center published some background on Commissioner Smith. Here’s how they describe him:

Imagine the President nominating an Attorney General who believes that most of our criminal laws are “profoundly undemocratic” and unconstitutional. Or an SEC Commissioner who has publicly called for the repeal of all securities laws with the plea, “We should deregulate and just let it go.” Or a nominee for EPA Administrator who believes that the agency he aspires to head and “its various state counterparts” should be abolished. It would be unthinkable. In a society rooted in the rule of law, we would never tolerate the appointment of a law enforcement officer who has vocally and repeatedly denounced the very laws he would be called upon to enforce, much less one who has called for the repeal of those laws and the abolition of the agency he aspires to head.

Unthinkable. Yet, some Senators thought of it.

The Republican favorite to fill the current vacancy on the Federal Election Commission, according to The Washington Post, is Bradley A. Smith, a law professor at Capital University Law School, who has devoted his career to denouncing the FEC and the laws it is entrusted to enforce in precisely those strident terms.

Brad Smith believes that the entire body of the nation’s campaign finance law is fundamentally flawed and unworkable – indeed, unconstitutional. He has forcefully advocated complete deregulation of the system. And, if the James Watt of campaign finance had his way, the FEC, and its state counterparts, would go out of business.

So, if even 1% of the above is true about the Commissioner, his red alert today could be a bit top heavy in the drama department.

MORE: FEC Commissioner Bradley Smith appeared on the Cam Edwards show this afternoon to discuss the possibility of regulating political activity on the Internet. RedState has the first half of the transcript posted here. They’ve also added a new section to their site which focuses exclusively on the story.


  1. Myopic Zeal says:

    FEC, Blogging and Political Speech

    There is a storm brewing.

    If you haven’t read this CNET story, check it out:

    Bradley Smith says that the freewheeling days of political blogging and online punditry are over.
    In just a few months, he warns, bloggers and news organizations could…

  2. It’s speech, dammit!

    4. If you want to stop Internet speech regulation, it can’t be done at the FEC. It has to be done first in Congress, and then in the courts. President Bush, who thought BCRA was unconstitutional in the first place, should ask Congress to repeal it.

  3. Anonymous says:

    What a great little gem on Brad Smith. Yeah, he’s dumb just like a fox. Now bloggers need to practice the art of hyperventilating and winking at the same time. Its not easy. Maybe Ann Coulter can teach a class.

  4. What Attitude Problem? says:

    Well whaddya know, the FEC isn’t going to crackdown on bloggers, after all. You mean to tell me Rex Hammock and I were right all along? You mean PunditGuy wasn’t fooled for even a minute? Huh.

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