The Federal Election Commission last night released proposed new rules that leave almost all Internet political activity unregulated except for the purchase of campaign ads on Web sites. ‘My key goal in this rule-making has been to make sure that the commission establish clear rules to exempt individuals who engage in online politics from campaign finance laws,’ said Chairman Michael E. Toner, a Republican. ‘We tried to craft a regulation that would allow the maximum amount of freedom for people as possible,’ said Commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub, a Democrat. Most bloggers, individual Web users, and such Web sites as Drudge Report and are exempted from regulation and will be free to support and attack federal candidates, much as newspapers are allowed. For the most part, leading advocates of the blogger community welcomed the proposed rules. ‘As a whole, these are rules that I think those who have been fighting regulations are going to be cheering,’ said Richard L. Hasen, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, who runs the Election Law blog. The rules provide ‘broad exemptions for most political activity on the Internet, and expand the media exemption to the Internet,’ […]

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