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Can Bloggers Get Behind Regulation of Internet Campaign Advertising?

When Congress finally stepped up to the plate in 2002 and passed the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA), it was a huge victory for those who want to curb the influence of special interest money in federal elections. Most importantly, the act prohibited federal candidates and the parties from raising and spending "soft money" — money raised directly from corporations, unions and wealthy individuals, sometimes in six-figure or greater sums. However, the law never clearly addressed use of soft money in campaign advertising on the Internet.

That could change soon.

For more than a year, civic groups, candidates, parties and bloggers alike have been struggling to develop a new policy for Internet campaign advertising that both maintains the soft money ban and protects political speech by bloggers and others.

Now, the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) has done precisely that. CDT has issued a draft proposal that finds a bridge between the campaign finance reform the blogging communities. The proposal is being sponsored as legislation by Rep. Tom Allen (D-Maine). The bill will be up for debate as early as the week of March 5.

You can read the proposal and supporting materials here.