FEC to hear from bloggers on new Internet rules

Political bloggers, who are often thought of as voices on the outside of institutional power, will soon take center stage in one of the most “insider” policy discussions in Washington, specifically rulemaking discussions at the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

Several bloggers are scheduled to testify before the FEC later this month on regulating their political statements on the Internet, an issue will bear on the 2006 midterm election.

Markos Moulitsas Zuniga of dailykos.com, which claims to be the highest-trafficked political Web log, with “12 million unique visits per month”; Michael Krempasky of redstate.org; Duncan Black of atrios.blogspot.com; and Matt Stoller of bopnews.com are among the bloggers testifying at the two-day hearing, set for June 27 and 28.  

The agency, which is charged with setting and enforcing campaign regulations, is considering a possible requirement that bloggers disclose whether they get money from candidates or campaign committees or whether they receive money to write about candidates.

Moulitsas Zuniga accepted money from Howard Dean’s presidential campaign as a consultant in 2003.

Regulating Web-based political activity has grown as a subject of debate as candidates and political parties have begun to use the Internet aggressively to raise money and communicate with voters.

The FEC will schedule a vote on new rules for Internet activity after the hearings.