YouTube Crackdown? Dem Regulators Target Online Political Content
The internet, including sites like YouTube and Drudge Report, has never been subject to federal election regulations, but that could change if some Democrats have their way.
The top Democrat on the Federal Election Commission strongly suggested Friday that regulators look at extending their authority to election-themed Internet videos – an area that for years has been largely hands-off for the government.
The statement from Vice Chairwoman Ann Ravel, who is in line to take over the commission next year, prompted Republicans to warn that such a move could threaten the growth and freedom of the Internet itself.
“I have been warning that my Democratic colleagues were moving to regulate media generally and the Internet specifically for almost a year now,” Chairman Lee Goodman told FoxNews.com. “And today’s statement from Vice Chair Ravel confirms my warnings.”
Ravel argues that the disclosure rules that apply to TV ads should also apply to ads posted on YouTube.
Republicans have pointed back to a 2006 exemption for free internet campaign videos. Critics say blogs, websites and podcasts could potentially fall under the new proposed regulations.
Federal Elections Commission Chairman Lee Goodman, who has voiced concerns over the proposal, told Steve Doocy this morning that "government needs to know when to leave well enough alone."
Goodman expressed skepticism that the FEC could monitor the spending behind political communications on the internet.
"It really is a specter of a government review board culling the internet daily. I don't know how we could begin to regulate all the hundreds of thousands of political commentaries online," he said.
Doocy pointed out that the IRS clamped down on conservative and Tea Party groups, arguing that if the rules are changed, the FEC could potentially target one side depending on which party is in the White House.
Watch the full interview above.