Michael Grace (& Kos) Prevail over Mary Bono in FEC Complaint Against Political Blogs


This seems important, constructive and unusually non-partisan:

The Federal Election Commission announced today that it has unanimously resolved two complaints alleging that Internet blog activity is subject to Commission regulation, finding that the activity is exempt from regulation under the media or volunteer exemption.
In Matter Under Review (MUR) 5928, the Commission determined that Kos Media, L.L.C., which operates the website DailyKos, did not violate the Federal Election Campaign Act. The Commission rejected allegations that the site should be regulated as a political committee because it charges a fee to place advertising on its website and it provides “a gift of free advertising and candidate media services” by posting blog entries that support candidates. The Commission determined that the website falls squarely within the media exemption and is therefore not subject to federal regulation under the Act.
Since 1974, media activity has been explicitly exempted from federal campaign finance regulation. In March 2006, the Commission made clear that this exemption extends to online media publications and that “costs incurred in covering or carrying a news story, commentary, or editorial by any broadcasting station. . . , Web site, newspaper, magazine, or other periodical publication, including any Internet or electronic publication,”are not a contribution or expenditure unless the facility is owned by a political party, committee, or candidate. With respect to MUR 5928, the FEC found that Kos Media meets the definition of a media entity and that the activity described in the complaint falls within the media exemption. Thus, activity on the DailyKos website does not constitute a contribution or expenditure that would trigger political committee status. The Commission therefore found no reason to believe Kos Media, DailyKos.com, or Markos Moulitsas Zuniga violated federal campaign finance law.
In MUR 5853, the Commission rejected allegations that Michael L. Grace made unreported expenditures when he leased space on a computer server to create a “blog” which advocated the defeat of Representative Mary Bono in the November 2006 election. The Commission also rejected allegations that Grace coordinated these expenditures with Bono’s opponent in the race, David Roth, and found that no in-kind contributions to Roth’s campaign resulted from Grace’s blogging activity. The Commission also found that the respondent did not fraudulently misrepresent himself in violation of 2U.S.C. S. 441h.

This decision seems unusual and heartening to me after so much previous debate at the Federal Election Commission over 527 entities and over the general arena of campaign finance reform.
To see writer Michael Grace, DailyKos, Markos Moulitsas vindicated against Mary Bono in our current political climate doesn’t happen every day.
— Steve Clemons


9 comments on “Michael Grace (& Kos) Prevail over Mary Bono in FEC Complaint Against Political Blogs

  1. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Hmmmm. Total silence.
    “Standing by” an opinion isn’t the same as defending it.
    And you can only promise “more later” a finite number of times before it begins to ring like a cop-out.


  2. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Steve, thanks for your response. I would love to see you engage your blog participants far more than you have in the past. Often times you do not answer direct queries, and whether its because you don’t see the question, or you just choose not to answer it, it does little to buttress your positions.
    And I understand your point when you draw a parrallel between the Cuban and the Israeli lobbies, but I fail to find validity in your point. The Israeli lobbies have far more impact and power than the Cuban lobbies, and the foreign policy theatre that they wish to control is far more relevant to current events.
    I still maintain, despite your comment, that you have virtually ignored the various candidates stances in regards to Israel, when in fact those stances are of the utmost importance, (far more important than their stances on Cuba), when trying to wade through the pool of posturing frauds that are being foisted upon us by the mass marketeers masquerading as media.
    Further, Steve, you have repeatedly pointed out, and rightfully so, Cheney’s behind the scenes efforts to demonize Iran and encourage military action. But, both Hillary and Obama have themselves used inflammatory rhetoric against Iran, exagerated the threat, and implied support for a military engagement. Yet you have avoided comment on their sword rattling. Even in answering my query here in this thread, you avoided answering my direct question about Hillary’s stance on Iran. Is sword rattling against Iran a non-no if it comes from the current occupants of the White House, but not worthy of mention if it comes from the likely future occupants? How can the voters be assured that Hillary or Obama won’t pull a Bush on us, and, considering their subservience to the Israeli lobbies, attack Iran?


  3. Steve Clemons says:

    POA — I liked the Hillary fundraising letter and I like how she uses mass media to generate a personal touch. I clearly don’t like some aspects of her campaign — and I’ve been way out there I think in making clear my preferences in favor of establishing Palestine and have been extremely harsh in my criticism of those who have allowed the American foreign policy machinery to be hijacked by Israeli interests. I’m not in the same place as you about all things Israel. I believe that we have a strategic relationship with Israel and the region that has to get beyond false choices between Israel and the Arab Muslim states. I think you think the same — but your edge on Israel is far more sharp than mine.
    To me, the diaspora groups that manipulate American politics in the case of Israel and Cuba are similar in many ways — and it’s not legitimate in my view for small groups of people to be determining broad American national security policy in the case of Israel and Cuba — particularly when the objectives of these groups undermine not only American interests but also ultimately the interests of the Israeli and Cuban people.
    I’m rushing off now — but use the search function and search “AIPAC.” Do you really find that I avoid the subject. Maybe I do and don’t know it….but more later.


  4. Lurker says:

    Raimondo made a division mistake when he calculated the per capita aid Israel gets:
    $3 Billion U.S. $$$ divided by 5.8 million Israelis (the population of Israel according to the last census)
    And that is a conservative estimate.
    I’m capping it because we need to SCREAM.
    The lives of millions are at stake.
    Number for Congress:
    202 224 3121
    Raise hell, before hell (via an attack on Iran) comes to us.


  5. PissedOffAmerican says:

    September 5, 2007
    More Money for Israel?
    They’re richer than ever, and they don’t need it – so why are we giving it?
    by Justin Raimondo
    American military aid to Israel has been increased yet again, which leads us to ask the inevitable question: What are we getting for our money?
    Well, we’re getting this, as well as this, and this – not to mention this.
    The regularly quoted figure is $3.5 billion per year. John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt go with the figure of $3 billion in their new book, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, averring that this is “generous, but it is hardly the whole story.” This “canonical” figure, they say, “omits a substantial number of other benefits.” The authors cite former congressman Lee Hamilton as saying that Israel is one of three countries whose aid total “substantially exceeds the popularly quoted figures.” The actual figure, said Hamilton, is more than $4.5 billion.
    As Mearsheimer and Walt have pointed out, neither the practical nor the moral case for this extraordinary amount of material support is justified: our Israel-centered foreign policy has been a burden to us in our dealings with the other nations of the Middle East, and it is increasingly clear that U.S. and Israeli interests have diverged since the end of the Cold War. Contrary to the Lobby’s assertion that 9/11 made their fight our fight, the exact opposite is the case. Anti-Americanism in the Muslim world is a deadly danger to our national security and a great boon to Osama bin Laden and his many imitators around the globe. This arming of the Israeli Sparta is a strategic and diplomatic liability that grows with each passing year.
    This post by Matt Yglesias over at The Atlantic makes a lot of sense, as far as it goes. An argument made by the Amen Corner is that the Israelis are performing a valuable service by refining the technical expertise of the military-industrial complex: they’re doing the research and development that is giving America the weapons of tomorrow. But “this doesn’t really make sense,” Yglesias writes, “since defense contractors – American, Israeli, French, whatever – get paid for their work as is, so it’s not clear why the Israeli government would need extra payment.”
    It’s hard to differentiate between private and public industry in socialist Israel, especially when it comes to the military-industrial complex, where no clear line of demarcation exists. Indeed, in the United States, and throughout the world, such companies are virtual arms of the government, which is their primary and often only customer.
    The point to be made is this: Just as America’s policy of military intervention in the Middle East benefits Israel strategically, serving as an ever expanding protective shield against the hostility of its neighbors, so American subsidies in the form of military aid are designed to bolster the burgeoning Israeli arms industry, so that government-supported Israeli companies can sell us new weaponry developed on our dime.
    The system works a little differently in Eastern Europe, where the installation of missile defense-systems purportedly defending against a very unlikely Iranian attack is a direct subsidy to the American companies that developed it. Again, aid to the Israelis is given on unusually favorable terms, and this underscores once more the central point made by Professors Mearsheimer and Walt, which is that the existence of the Lobby – as the single most powerful influence on the conduct of American foreign policy – explains the discrepancy.
    Israel is a rich country. They don’t need this enormous outpouring of free cash to shore up their military machine, which amounts to around one-sixth of our total foreign aid outlay and about 2 percent of the Israeli gross domestic product. It is the equivalent of roughly $500 per year to each and every citizen of Israel. So why this incredible amount of military aid?
    After all, the Israelis are unofficial members of the nuclear club. They could turn Tehran into a molten puddle of glass at a moment’s notice, and maybe someday they will. Which is precisely the point. Israel is one of the most warlike countries on earth, given that it has been, since its inception, perpetually at war with its neighbors. Israel’s partisans claim this is no fault of the Israelis, yet that question is not only highly debatable, it is utterly irrelevant as far as determining what the American interest is in all this.
    This new aid package will accelerate a process that was begun some time ago and help make Israel America’s confidante and primary ally, a post once occupied by the British, ensconcing the Jewish state as the primary armaments-producer to the American empire. Israel will profit from the rise of the American empire not only monetarily, but also geopolitically.
    This strengthening of the Israeli military-industrial complex fills the coffers of the War Party to overflowing and helps keep the political and economic dynamics of this uniquely binational war economy flowing and politically viable. As regards the latter, as we have seen, the Lobby and allied groups and individuals take a leading role in plumbing for an aggressive policy in the Middle East, pushing for policies that increase war profits. It’s the economics of that famous “cycle of violence” that everyone is always talking about breaking, yet it won’t be broken until the power of the military-industrial complex is successfully curtailed, and, with it, the decisive influence of the Lobby.
    One effect of The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy will be to reopen discussion of the Foreign Agents Registration Act and how it’s not being enforced in the case of AIPAC. As the arrest, trial, and conviction of Pentagon analyst Larry Franklin makes all too clear, Israel’s top lobbying organization in the U.S. is an agent of a foreign government: the upcoming trial of top AIPAC officials Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman on charges of passing classified information gleaned from Franklin to Israeli government officials threatens to uncover what it means to really function as a foreign agent – including engaging in espionage, in addition to routine cheerleading for the Israeli government talking point of the moment.
    Many people have written me – given that I have covered the implications of the AIPAC spy trial in detail but haven’t published anything on the subject recently – asking whatever happened to Rosen, Weissman, and the case, and darkly implying that since the supposedly all-powerful “Jewish cabal” that (in their view) runs the world couldn’t possibly allow this to come to trial, it won’t ever see the light of a courtroom. Ah, not so: the trial, though delayed – through the successful legal tactics of the defense – has not been derailed. A trial date of Jan. 14, 2008, has been set – although this, too, is tentative, given the outcome of several pending legal maneuvers. Another reason for the successful delaying tactics by the defense: the media hasn’t paid any attention to this case, apart from a brief flurry of interest when the story first broke.
    For the reasons why that is so, you’ll just have to read The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy. I’m just finishing it up now and hope to have a report for you soon. In the meantime, the Lobby marches on, devastating all opposition with its virulent smear campaigns, and pulling in a good chunk of change for the mother country in the process. So, what are we getting for our involuntary “contribution” to the IDF?
    Well, nothing. But our politicians, and the corrupt corporate interests whose sock-puppets they are, are getting plenty – of that you can be sure. The former are getting reelected, thanks to huge campaign contributions by the special interests, including the armaments industry, and the latter are getting rich off the backs of the American taxpayers.
    And the beat goes on…


  6. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Hey Steve, by now I am sure you have noticed the negative response you recieved on your fawning presentation of Hillary’s bit of literary bribery.
    One thing I am curious about. If your main focus is foreign policy, then why are you so fixated on these candidate’s positions in regards to Cuba, while ignoring their positions in regards to Israel? Doesn’t it ring true that their intentions and positions in regards to Israel will have a far greater impact on world peace and stability than their Cuban policies will?
    In Hillary’s case, for instance, how do you feel her unbridled support for Israel, and AIPAC’s unbridled support for Hillary, bodes for the prospect of war with Iran, if this monster Bush hasn’t already launched such a folly? The same could be asked about this done nothing media construct, Obama.
    Steve, you cannot skirt the Israel/AIPAC/Dem Party issue forever, and to do so seriously undermines your ability to present a complete picture of the various candidate’s “foreign policy” opinions ald alleged stances. You ignored Pelosi’s pandering to AIPAC, and subsequent back down on the Iran passage in the Iraq bill, and you have completely ignored both Obama’s, Edwards, and Hillary’s stances in regards to Israel, and their obvious “supporting” rhetoric aimed at AIPAC audiences.
    Or does Israel so completely own Washington now that you no longer consider Israeli/US affairs to be in the purview of “foreign policy”?


  7. Danny glover says:

    Kos didn’t prevail over Mary Bono; you’re mixing blog-related cases decided the same day by the FEC.
    Kos prevailed over a conservative blogger who had filed a complaint. The Bono case involved allegations about a separate blogger’s affiliation with Bono’s opponent.
    The two cases combined send a strong message that the FEC does not want to regulate blogs under campaign finance law.


  8. Burp Zilla says:

    “Kos” prevailed over Bono BECAUSE brother “Kos” has CIA connections. That’s the only reason that “Kos” won anything. Dear brother “Kos” is a traitorous dog and a swine. Brother “Kos” needs to clear the air and offer the web-based community a full and immediate disclosure of ALL his clandestine connections and UNTIL our dear brother the closet pig does, brother “Kos” can simply shut the freaking well up! Brother “Kos” is a ‘mole’ and that about says it all.


  9. daCascadian says:

    Certainly “a breath of fresh air”. Maybe “spring” is just around the corner…
    Time to get ready to “clean house” I suppose.
    “There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.” – Niccoló Machiavelli


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